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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/critiquingthe 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 will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Presentation

  • Hands-on project

Course Load

  • time spent on attending lectures and seminars: 26 hours

  • time forstudying thecompulsory literature: 130 hours

  • time to prepare for the exam and/or writea paper(includingreading/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%


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Duanmu, S. (2000). The Phonology of Standard Chinese. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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


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;