LING215-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Phonetics: The sounds of speech

15 points
17 Feb 2020 - 21 Jun 2020


This course is about phonetics - understanding how speech sounds are made. In the first part of the course, we learn how people articulate sounds. In the second part, we learn how to measure speech sounds using computer software. We will also learn how these skills can help us understand important issues in accent change, forensic linguistics, and speech pathology.

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.


Any 15 points at any level from LING.



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 $777.00

International fee $3,375.00

* 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

  • LING215-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020