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Linguistics 4: The Phonology of English


Admission requirements

Students have taken and passed a BA-course on articulatory phonetics (e.g., Linguistics 1 ”The Phonetics of English”) as well as a course on the grammar of English (Linguistics 2 or equivalent).


This course is concerned with the relationship between phonetic and phonological structure in English, building on the material considered in Linguistics 1: “The Phonetics of English”.
The focus of the course will be on the internal structure of speech sounds, on the phonological organisation of these sounds into larger units such as syllables and metrical feet and on the relationship between phonology and the structure of morphologically complex words.
Each week, the lecture introduces phonological concepts and terminology that will be applied to the phonological processes and problem solving exercises that will be dicussed in the tutorial. As a preparation for each lecture and tutorial, you read one or two book chapters or a journal article and you prepare exercises or short assignments at home.

Course objectives

The first objective of the course is to introduce the general terminology and principles of phonological theory. In the first four weeks, you will read one or two book chapters each week and simultaneously do exercises in those chapters to familiarize yourself with phonological terminology and to practice using theoretical concepts to talk about phonological processes in English and other languages.

The second course objective is to learn to read and interpret the more recent relevant literature, so that you will gain a better understanding of the phonological representation of segments and syllables, and of segmental processes such as assimilation. In the second part of the course (i.e. as of week 5), the readings (about 30 pages a week) should be done before the lecture. In the seminar, we will discuss the readings for that particular week in more detail. In addition, for each seminar session you should prepare the exercises and assignments given for that week. Some assignments are meant to help you interpret the readings and understand the most relevant recent theories in the field.

The third course objective is to develop your analytical and problem-solving skills. For this reason, you will do exercises and assignments that are intended to help you to think about the theories discussed by focusing your attention on particular analyses of phonological processes.

In the final examination you will be able to show that you can read and interpret the relevant literature on phonological theory and that you gained insights into the relationship between phonology and the structure of morphologically complex words. You will show that you can apply your knowledge to new data sets which you will be able to analyse.


The timetable is available on the BA English website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture (1 hour p/w)

  • Seminar (1 hour p/w)

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours= 140 hours

  • Lectures: 13

  • Preparation lecture and seminars (readings + assignments and exercises): 34

  • Preparation mid-term examination and final examination: 80

Assessment method


A one-hour written mid-term examination with closed questions and short open questions
A two-hour final examination with closed questions, short open questions and essay questions


Mid-term written examination: 30%
End-of-term examination: 70%
A minimum mark of 5.49 for the mid-term exam
A minimum mark of 5.49 for the end-of-term exam


The mid-term exam and the end-of-term exam can be retaken if one or both marks are 5.49 or less.


Attendance is compulsory. Missing more than two tutorials means that students will be excluded from the tutorials. Unauthorized absence also applies to being unprepared, not participating and/or not bringing the relevant course materials to class.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing information about the course schedule and specific information about (components) of the course

  • home-work assignments

Reading list

Course book: Philip Carr & Jean-Pierre Montreuil (2013). Phonology (2nd edition). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
The first edition of this book is out of date and not compatible with the second edition.
Other readings will be provided.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

NB: First year students will be enrolled by the coordinator of studies.

Students other than from the BA English language and culture cannot take this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk