Phonology (Q3163)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

You study current phonological theory, covering both theories of phonological representations, such as:

  • distinctive features
  • autosegmental phonology
  • feature geometry
  • syllables and other prosodic phenomena like stress and tone.  

You also look at theories of phonological operations including:

  • rules
  • ordered derivations
  • lexical strata and cyclic derivations
  • constraints and constraint interaction
  • Optimality Theory.

The module is data-oriented, and phonological generalisations will emerge through the analysis of data sets.

You look at data from varieties of English as well as from a range of typologically different languages, shedding light on how English relates to other languages typologically, and what the parameters and limits of phonological variation are.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Problem set)
50%: Examination (Take away paper)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 24 hours of contact time and about 126 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2022/23. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: