SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Introduction to Phonology

Module Code:
1 unit
Year of study:
Year 1



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The course is intended to present the scope of phonology (Phonetics vs. phonology). Students will gain an understanding of the following areas:  the identification of phonological processes and natural classes, the nature of phonological explanations, the structure of phonological theory, the shape of phonological representations (features vs. elements), and a comparison between different theories of phonological processes. Students will also be able to identify theoretical approaches to phonological analysis, produce evidence of analytical ability and determine phonological processes evident in a wide-range of the World’s languages.


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 3 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course presents an overview of the difference between phonetics and phonology, the development of phonological theory within a Generative framework, subsegmental representations (binary vs monovalent representations) and phonological processes examined through the syllabic structure in an autosegmental framework.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination (80%) taken in May/June.  Coursework: 6 assignments (20% in total) submitted throughout the year.

Suggested reading

The reading list for this course will be made available from the convenor at the beginning of the course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules