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Phonology: Dealing with Many Types of Evidence


Admission requirements

A basic knowledge of phonology is assumed.


In the last decades, many new types of evidence have become available for the phonologist: traditional data such as found in historical grammars or notes from fieldworkers, data from phonetic and psycholinguistic experiments, data from annotated phonetic and phonological corpora, typological databases, etc. It is the task of the (theoretical) phonologist to make sense of all these data and to try to build models which can account for all of them. Are there any types of data which are more trustworthy than others, or more relevant for phonological theory? How do we evaluate the quality of different types of data? And what is the role of phonological theory in all this?

In this course, we will study a variety of phenomena (syllable structure, vowel harmony and stress systems) with examples from different kinds of sources. You will learn to understand these data, and in particular to see how they can be made relevant for a theory, and inversely, how a theory can help give a unifying view of all these very different types of material.

Course objectives

  • Understanding what the main types of phonological evidence are and what is their role in phonological theory. – To be able to make an analysis of some phonological phenomenon, taking into account different types of evidence

Mode of instruction

2-hour weekly seminar

Assessment method

Oral presentation and written paper



Reading list

To be distributed in class (manuscript of textbook)

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs