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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course aims to introduce students to a range of phonological approaches, beginning with the classical phonemicist approach, which students have encountered in pre-honours courses, and moving on to consider topics including the role of syllables and metre and the development of models in generative phonology including differences between rule-based phonologies and constraint-based theories.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Will Barras

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4
  • Language And Linguistics (LN) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

We know that phonology focuses on the patterns and structure in the use of sounds in language, but how does this work with a real language such as English? How justified are we in talking about English as a single language? Should we refer to Englishes? And if so, should we be really be discussing 'phonologies'?

This course considers several key phonological phenomena found in varieties of English including a focus on segments (phonemes) as we have done in earlier courses, but also looking at suprasegmental aspects such as syllabic structure and the role of stress and metrical feet. We will also look more closely at realisational processes: we've previously discussed allophones but we will now consider other approaches to working with the sort of patterns that can be observed in a speaker's phonetic output.

Throughout the course we will consider issues that arise when we deal with variation between the varieties of a language, and also general issues in theoretical phonology. Focusing on a set of fairly familiar accents of English from Scotland, England, North America and the Southern Hemisphere, we will investigate characteristics of these particular accents, and also a number of key concepts from phonological theory, including the role of rule ordering in some models and other approaches to modelling phonological processes, such as constraint ranking. 

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

One 1000 word data analysis exercise 40%

One 2000 word essay 50%

Seminar Assessment Mark 10%

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.



Course Learning Outcomes


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