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Phonology: Discovering Unique Patterns


Admission requirements

A basic knowledge of phonology is assumed.


Linguists often work on their native languages. As native speakers we have an additional insight into the inner workings of a particular language. Such research can provide evidence that fills a typological gap or requires a modification of a theory.

This course is a hands-on class designed to develop skills in how to identify underdescribed and unique patterns in language. We start with a coarse survey of different kinds of phonological patterns. You will analyze a single language and its phonological patterns. By narrowing the focus of the survey, you may be able to find novel data. You will learn how to (a) discover previously unknown phonological phenomena in your native language, (b) describe what is rare about them from a cross-linguistic perspective, and © determine the significance of these phenomena for phonological theory.

Course objectives

  1. Students will learn to distinguish between cross-linguistically common and rare phonological patterns.

2.Students will be able to analyze phonological patterns and determine how they fit into a particular theoretical model or empirical observation.

  1. Students will write a squib-length paper with new data and a theoretical account..


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

A brief calculation of the course load, broken down by:

  • Total course load for the course (number of EC x 28 hours), for a course of 5 EC is 140 hours, for 10 EC 280.

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (eg 2 hours per week x 14 weeks = 28 hours)

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature (as a possible criterion approx. 7 pages per hour with deviations up and down depending on the material to be studied) (if applicable) time for completing assignments, whether in preparation at the college

  • (If applicable) time to write a paper (including reading / research)

Assessment Method

  • Oral presentation (??%)

  • Written paper (??)


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • van Oostendorp, Marc, Ewen, Colin J., Hume, Elizabeth and Rice, Keren D. (eds.) (2011). The Blackwell Companion to Phonology. Blackwell.

  • de Lacy, Paul (ed.) (2007). The Cambridge Handbook of Phonology. Cambridge University Press.

  • Goldsmith, John A., Riggle, Jason and Yu, Alan C. L. (2011). The Handbook of Phonological Theory. Blackwell.

Additional literature depends on the topic of a particular student’s paper.


Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:
Registration Contractonderwijs via:


MA Linguistics departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail: