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The Sounds of Chinese


Admission requirements

Background in phonetics and/or phonology.


The topic of this course is the sounds of the languages of China. We will study them by reviewing/critiquing the literature on important issues concerning the sound structures of Chinese dialects that have played an important role in the development of general phonetic and phonological theory. Students will be guided to develop a research proposal and design experiments to address open questions in the literature, which should concern cross-dialectal or cross-linguistic comparisons of a specific aspect of the sound systems of Chinese dialects.

Course objectives

Students will:
1) have a basic understanding of the sound structure of Chinese languages;
2) become familiar with the most important approaches and the main findings in the field;
3) be exposed to open questions in current research on the phonetics and phonology of sound structures;
4) learn experimental methods to address theoretically relevant questions;
5) sharpen their analytical skills in general.


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Presentation

  • Hands-on project

Course Load

  • time spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26 hours

  • time for studying the compulsory literature: 130 hours

  • time to prepare for the exam and/or write a paper (including reading/research): 124 hours

Assessment Method

  • Two presentations: 1) topic-based presentation (literature review); 2) project-based presentation 30%

  • Literature review 20 %

  • Final project report 35%

  • In-class assignments and participation 15%

The final grade consists of weighted average of the above components.

Resit: students who fail the course (i.e. their final grade is a 5.0 or lower) may resit the final project report an/ or the literature review.


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Lin, Yen-Hwei (2007). The Sounds of Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • In-class assigned papers.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in [English]) and Dutch

Students other than MA Linguistics need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.