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Linguistics 5A: English Sounds and Words in the Mental Lexicon


Admission requirements

Students have taken and passed a BA-course on phonology (e.g., Linguistics 3B).


Linguistics 5A “English Sounds and Words in the Mental Lexicon” will investigate how word structure is represented in the minds of language users and how English word structure may interact with sound structure. We will consider how the speech sounds and words of a language are acquired during infancy and early childhood, how they are represented in the mind of adult language users and how their mental representations and physical productions may change or attrite across the life-span.

Course objectives

  • The first objective of the course is to learn the appropriate terminology to describe morphological systems in a range of language types, with special emphasis on English and related languages. We will use the reading material, challenges, and exercises in course book to introduce and familiarize students with the most important morphological terminology. Additional readings (journal articles) will familiarize students with other theoretical models and experimental methods in the field.

  • The second course objective is to develop an in-depth understanding of the morphological structures of human languages and of how these structures interact with phonological structures. Students will gain more insight into morphological and phonological processes and they will acquire knowledge of a number of theoretical proposals that consider the morphology-phonology interface.

  • Upon successful completion of the course, students will have a greater awareness of the complex organisation and systematic nature of language and more insights into the morphology and phonology of English. They will be familiar with some of the theories, terminology and techniques of phonological and morphological analysis and be able to apply this knowledge to the description of English and other languages. They will furthermore have the skills to evaluate the suitability of some theories on the morphology-phonology interface. They will be able to formulate their own research questions and to formulate sound morphological and phonological arguments.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • Active participation in class

  • Written mid-term paper (essay).

  • Take-home examination.


  • Active participation: 10%

  • Mid-term written paper: 20%.

  • Take-home examination: 70%.
    A minimum mark of 5.5 for the mid-term paper.
    A minimum mark of 5.5 for the end-of-term exam.


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

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.

Reading list

  • Lieber, Rochelle (2022). Introducing Morphology (3rd revised edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (selected chapters).

  • Additional readings will be announced in Brightspace


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

General information about MyStudyMap is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Student administration Arsenaal


Not applicable.