SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Intermediate Phonology

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2


Introduction to Phonology

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

  • develop further critical reading skills
  • understand how theoretical investigations are motivated by data and problems within the theory
  • identify the differences between theoretical approaches and compare and contrast them
  • produce evidence of analytical ability
  • determine how language data informs phonological theory

Transferable skills: The following transferable skills will be assessed:

  • independent and analytical thought
  • high levels of literacy
  • problem analysis and problem solving

In addition, the course will exercise transferable skills in:

  • the ability of manage one’s own learning
  • the ability to work independently
  • the ability to work in groups
  • the ability to present and summarise complex information


A total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course covers theoretical approaches in phonological analyses and builds upon the Introduction to Phonology course.

The course consists of ten weekly lectures, which will cover the following theoretical areas:

  • analytic vs Non-analytic phonology
  • lexical phonology
  • phonological representation of non-concatenative morphology
  • strict CV phonology

This course requires students to prepare for the lectures with the set readings made available on Blackboard.

The course aims to:

  • advance students’ knowledge of phonology by presenting the development of phonological theory and its motivations
  • provide students with an in-depth understanding of further areas in theoretical phonology
  • provide an opportunity to critically analyse theoretical approaches to phonological data
  • allow students a forum in which to evaluate theoretical approaches
  • enhance students’ critical reading and language analysis skills

Method of assessment

This course is examined by coursework only.  An essay of 1,000 words to be submitted in week 6, in the term and on the day in which the course is taught (20%); an essay of 1,000 words to be submitted in week 10, in the term and on the day in which the course is taught (20%); an essay of 3,000 words to be submitted in week 1, in the term following the one in which the course is taught (60%).

Suggested reading

Core reading

The following references comprise the reading for this course:

  • Goldsmith, J. (1990) Autosegmental and Metrical Phonology. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Chapter 5, 217-73.
  • Kaye, J. (1995) Derivations and interfaces. Frontiers of Phonology, J. Durand & F. Katamba (eds.). London: Longman Linguistics Library. 289-332.
  • Lowenstamm, J. (1996) CV as the only syllable type. Current trends in Phonology. Models and Methods, Jacques Durand & Bernard Laks (eds.). Salford, Manchester: ESRI. 419-44.
  • Lowenstamm, J. (1999) The beginning of the word. Phonologica 1996, John Rennison and Klaus Kühnhammer (eds.). The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics. 153-66.
  • McCarthy, John (1981) A prosodic theory of nonconcatenative phonology. Linguistic Inquiry 12:3. 373-413.
  • Scheer, T. (1996) On constraints vs non-circular vs. non-circular approaches to word-initial clusters. Phonologica 1996, John Rennison & Klaus Kühnhammer (eds.). The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics. 289-304
  • Scheer, T. (1998) A unified model of Proper Government. The Linguistic Review 15, pp. 41-67.

Supplementary reading

  • Clements, G. (1990) The role of the sonority cycle in core syllabification'. Papers in Laboratory Phonology 1: Between the grammar and physics of speech. J. Kingston and M. Beckman (eds.), Cambridge: CUP. 283-333.
  • Ewen, C. & H. van der Hulst (1999) The Syllable. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Goldsmith, J. & B. Laks, Generative Phonology: its origins, its principles, and its successors. To appear in The Cambridge History of Linguistics, Linda Waugh & John E. Joseph (eds.) Cambridge: CUP.
  • Goldsmith, J. A. (1990) Autosegmental and Metrical Phonology. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • Kaye, J (1992) On the interaction of theories of Lexical Phonology and theories of phonological phenomena. Phonologica 1988, Uli Dressler & Hans Luschuzky, Oskar Pfeiffer and John Rennison (eds.). Cambridge: CUP: 141-55.
  • Kiparsky, P. (1982) Lexical morphology and phonology. Linguistics in the Morning Calm, I. S. Yang (ed.) Seoul: Hanshin.
  • Neef, M. (2004) Segments with inherently falling sonority. Studia Linguistica 58:3. 252-68.
    Selkirk, Elisabeth (1982) The syllable, The structure of phonological representations (part II), H. van der Hulst & N. Smith (eds.). Dordrecht: Foris. 337-83.

Additional readings will be made available on Blackboard, make sure you check this site regularly.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules