SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

Phonology (Masters)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Term 1

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, 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)


This course is taught over 10 weeks with 3 contact hours per week.

Scope and syllabus

This course 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

One essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on the teaching day of week 5 in the term which the course is taught (20%); one essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on the teaching day of week 9 in the term which the course is taught (20%); one essay of 3,000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, of the term following that in which the course is taught (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