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Linguistics 4: The Phonology of English


Admission requirements

Students have taken and passed a BA-course on articulatory phonetics (e.g., Linguistics 1 ”The Phonetics of English”). We will assume familiarity with phonetic terminology and phonemic transcriptions.


The Linguistics 4 course “The Phonology of English” is concerned with the relationship between phonetic and phonological structure in English, building on the material considered in Linguistics 1: “The Phonetics of English”.

The focus of the course will be on the internal structure of speech sounds, on the phonological organisation of these sounds into larger units such as syllables and metrical feet and on the relationship between phonology and the structure of morphologically complex words.

Each week, the lecture introduces phonological concepts and terminology that will be applied to the phonological processes and problem solving exercises that will be dicussed in the tutorial. As a preparation for each lecture and tutorial, you read one or two book chapters or a journal article and you prepare exercises or short assignments at home.

Course objectives

The first objective of the course is to introduce the general terminology and principles of phonological theory. You will read one or two book chapters each week and simultaneously do exercises in those chapters to familiarize yourself with phonological terminology and to practice using theoretical concepts to talk about phonological processes in English and other languages.

The second course objective is to learn to read and interpret the more recent relevant literature, so that you will gain a better understanding of the phonological representation of segments and syllables, and of segmental processes such as assimilation. In the second part of the course (i.e. as of week 5), the readings (about 30 pages a week) should be done before the lecture. In the seminar, we will discuss the readings for that particular week in more detail. In addition, for each seminar session you should prepare the exercises and assignments given for that week. Some assignments are meant to help you interpret the readings and understand the most relevant recent theories in the field.

The third course objective is to develop your analytical and problem-solving skills. For this reason, you will do exercises and assignments that are intended to help you to think about the theories discussed by focusing your attention on particular analyses of phonological processes.

In the final examination you will be able to show that you can read and interpret the relevant literature on phonological theory and that you gained insights into the relationship between phonology and the structure of morphologically complex words. You will show that you can apply your knowledge to new data sets which you will be able to analyse.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture (1 hour per week)

  • Seminar (1 hour per week)

Assessment method


  • A one-hour written mid-term examination with closed questions and short open questions

  • A two-hour final examination with closed questions, short open questions and essay questions

Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.


  • Mid-term written examination: 30%

  • End-of-term examination: 70%

  • A minimum mark of 5.49 for the mid-term exam

  • A minimum mark of 5.49 for the end-of-term exam


The mid-term exam and the end-of-term exam can be retaken if one or both marks are 5.49 or less.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Knight, Rachel-Anne (2012). Phonetics: A Coursebook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (information on this title: plus additional reading to be made available during the course.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

Registration Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal


Not applicable.