LING215-19S1 (C) Semester One 2019

The Sounds of Speech

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 18 February 2019
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 1 March 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 10 May 2019


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 provides a practical hands-, ears-, eyes- and tongues-on approach to speech. In the articulatory phonetics section we will think carefully about how we produce sound, how we combine the movement of various articulators in order to create different sounds and how these sounds combine in turn to create spoken utterances. 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, in the acoustic phonetics section we will also learn about how we can measure and interpret the acoustic speech signal transmitted by the moving air molecules.

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



Timetable 2019

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00 Ernest Rutherford 460 (7/5)
Ernest Rutherford 460 (19/2-2/4, 30/4, 14/5-28/5)
18 Feb - 7 Apr
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 09:00 - 11:00 Ernest Rutherford 212 Computer Lab 18 Feb - 7 Apr
29 Apr - 2 Jun

Course Coordinator

Viktoria Papp


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Class test 50% During workshop in weeks 6 & 12
Take home tasks 30% Due in weeks 3, 5 and 8.
Final assingment 20% Due in week 11

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

There is no required textbook to purchase for this course. You will be assigned chapters from e-books which you can access for free through the library.

Course links

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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $761.00

International fee $3,188.00

* 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

  • LING215-19S1 (C) Semester One 2019