SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Approaches to Phonology

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  • The ability to observe, describe and analyse a range of different phonological processes
  • Familiarity with different types of phonological processes
  • An understanding of what trigger a process, the changes involved and the different contexts of application
  • The ability to identify the kinds of data needed to fill gaps in an analysis
  • Evaluate the differences between ways of representing the internal representation of segments (features, elements)
  • Familiarity with syllabic structure (generative, government phonology)


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week consisting of lecture.

Scope and syllabus

This module is intended to familiarise students with a wide range of phonological processes observed in a vast variety of languages and with different phonological theories. Emphasis is given to the internal representation of segments, syllabic structure and autosegmental processes.

Method of assessment

A data analysis of 500 words to be submitted by the end of the teaching day in Week 6 (20%); a data analysis of 500 words to be submitted by the end of the teaching day in Week 9 (20%); a data analysis/essay of 2500-3000 to be submitted on Friday of Week 1 of the following term (60%).

Suggested reading

  • Charette, M. (1991). Conditions on phonological government, CUP.
  • Charette & Göksel (1994, 1996). Articles on vowel harmony and licensing constraints, SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics 4 and 6.
  • Chomsky, N. & M. Halle. (1968). The sound pattern of English, New York: Harper and Row.
  • Goldsmith, J. (1990) Autosegmental and metrical phonology, Oxford:Blackwell.
  • Ewen, C. & H. van der Hulst. (2001). The phonological structure of words, Cambridge textbooks in linguistics.
  • Gussenhoven, C. and H. Jacobs (1998). Understanding phonology, London:Arnold.
  • Harris, J. (1994), ‘The sound pattern of English’, Blackwell.
  • Katamba, F. (1989). Introduction to phonology, London:Longman.
  • Kaye, J., (1981). Phonology: a cognitive view, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.
  • Kenstowicz, M. (1994). Phonology in generative grammar, Blackwell.
  • Ladefoged, P. (2001). A course in phonetics (fourth edition), Harcourt College Publishers.
  • Roca, I. & W. Johnson (1999). A course in phonology, Blackwell.
  • Spencer, A. (1996). Phonology: theory and description, Blackwell.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules