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Field and Laboratory Phonetics


Admission requirements

BA in Linguistics or related discipline


In the last two decades, a wide range of methods for phonetic data collection has become more accessible to linguists working in both the field and in a lab. This course will introduce students to all the major data collection methods available for articulatory and acoustic phonetic analysis. It will teach students the skills to carry out high quality phonetic research in the field as well as robust experiments in the lab using state of the art technological equipment. The course consists of four parts. First, theoretical concepts of articulatory and acoustic phonetics will be introduced, including production, aerodynamics and kinematics of speech sounds. Second, empirical issues will be discussed, such as acoustic analysis of phonetic data with the help of computer software. Third, students will be able to acquire hands-on experience in the practical aspects of field phonetics. Finally, students will learn to transfer those skills to a more controlled laboratory environment.

Course objectives

Students will be able to:

  • explain fundamental aspects of theoretical phonetics, especially regarding speech production and acoustic properties of speech.

  • employ a variety of different phonetic data collection techinques suitable for field and laboratory research. This includes recording audio/video samples of speech, performing static palatographies, and using equipment such as electroglottographs, airflow modules and ultrasound machines.

  • interpret the collected data with the help of computer software such as Praat.

  • analyse the phonetic data empirically based on sound understanding of phonetic theory.


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

Mode of instruction

Seminar, heavily supported by practical exercises.
There will be 2 contact hours (one 2-hour seminar) every week.

Course Load

Attending lectures and seminars: 28 hours
Studying the compulsory literature: 128 hours
Writing a paper based on original research: 124 hours

Assessment Method

Students will be assessed in three parts:

  • They will write an essay related to a topic covered in the first half of the course (30%).

  • They will complete a number of small weekly exercises to improve understanding of concepts and practice using phonetic analysis software (30%).

  • They will conduct a project which will include collection and analysis of “field” or laboratory data, as well as a final report (40%).


Blackboard will be used to provide students with an overview of current affairs, as well as specific information about (components of) the course.

Reading list

The course readings will be taken from the following books. The students are not required to purchase any of the course textbooks.

Hewlett, Nigel and Beck, Janet (2006).An Introduction to the Science of Phonetics. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Johnson, Keith (2003). Acoustic and Auditory Phonetics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Ladefoged, Peter (2003). Phonetic Data Analysis: An Introduction to Fieldwork and Instrumental Techniques. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Articles such as the following will be used as case studies:

Maddieson, Ian, Avelino, Heriberto, and O’Connor, Loretta(2009). The phonetics structuresof Lowland Chontal of Oaxaca. International Journal of American Linguistics, 75: 69-101.
Flemming, Edward, Ladefoged, Peter, and Thomason, Sarah (2008). Phonetic structures of Montana Salish. Journal of Phonetics, 36: 465-491.
Avelino, Heriberto (2010). Acoustic and Electroglottographic Analyses of Nonpathological, Nonmodal Phonation. Journal of Voice, 3: 270-280.

Further reading:
International Phonetic Association (1999). Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A Guide to the Use of the International Phonetic Alphabet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ladefoged, Peter (1997). Instrumental Techniques for Linguistic Phonetic Fieldwork. In: The Handbook of Phonetic Sciences, William Hardcastle and John Laver, eds. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.


Enrolment in uSis is obligatory. If you have any questions, please contact the student administration, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

When registering, students that are registered for the specialisation that this course belongs to, or the Research Master, take priority. The deadline for registration is August 15. All other students should contact the coordinator of studies

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


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