LING215-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018

The Sounds of Speech

15 points
19 Feb 2018 - 24 Jun 2018


This course is about understanding the sounds of speech. In the first part of the course, we think carefully about how we produce sound, how we use our vocal apparatus to create different sounds and how these sounds combine in turn to form speech. In the second part, we learn about how we can measure and interpret changes in the air caused by speech. Finally, we explore connections to other areas of language study and we consider how knowledge of speech sounds could be applied in the real world context of forensic investigation.

Speech is our most common form of communication and it plays a huge role in our lives. This course is about speech.  We will think carefully about how we produce sound, how the various muscles we use combine in order to create different sounds and how these sounds combine in turn to create spoken utterances (i.e. articulatory phonetics).  When we produce speech, we make changes to the air molecules around us (this is what we ‘hear’) and so in tandem with exploring speech articulation, on this course we will also learn about how we can measure and interpret changes in the air caused by speech (i.e. acoustic phonetics).

Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the course, students will:

  • Understand the central principles of acoustic and articulatory phonetics
  • Be familiar with using computer software such as Praat to analyse speech
  • Be able to transcribe speech in detail using the IPA

    As a student in this course you will not only acquire subject specific skills, you will also acquire a number of transferrable skills.  For example, by the end of this course you will be able to...  

  • Read critically and objectively
  • Analyse phonetic data
  • Meet deadlines
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


LING101 or LING111 or ENGL123 or ENGL112


Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00 A8 Lecture Theatre 19 Feb - 1 Apr
23 Apr - 3 Jun
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 13:00 James Logie 214-Language Lab 19 Feb - 1 Apr
30 Apr - 3 Jun

Course Coordinator

Viktoria Papp


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Class test 30% During workshop in week 7
Take home tasks 20% Due in weeks 3 and 6.
Phonetic transcription 20% Due in week 8.
Final assingment 30% Due in week 12

A class test will take place during the workshop slot in week 7.  This will be a short answer assessment testing your knowledge and understanding of the articulatory and acoustic properties of vowels and consonants of English (i.e. material covered in class between weeks 1-6).  This will account for 30% of your coursework mark overall.

There will be two take-home tasks, one due in week 4 and one due in week 6. These are worth 15% of the course each, and they will give you the opportunity to practice the sort of analytical techniques you will need to master to do well in the final assignment. You will have one week to do each take-home task.

At the end of the semester, you will hand in a written assignment in which you will have the chance to conduct some basic phonetic analysis and/or discuss theoretical issues in some depth.  This will account for 40% of your coursework mark overall.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Ladefoged, Peter. , Disner, Sandra Ferrari; Vowels and consonants; 3rd ed; Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Ladefoged, Peter. , Johnstone, Keith; A course in phonetics; 6th ed; Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2011.

Course links

Library portal
The course outline is available on LEARN (only for students enrolled in this course).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $746.00

International fee $3,038.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All LING215 Occurrences

  • LING215-18S1 (C) Semester One 2018