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Experimentele Fonetiek


Admission requirements

Not applicable


In this course, we will take an experimental approach to the study of speech. We will learn the basic processes/mechanisms of speech production and perception, couched within the general understanding of the structure and dynamics of the human speech organs and the hearing system. The core of the course addresses acoustical properties of speech segments as well as the phonetics of suprasegmental prosody (i.e. lexical tones, stress patterns, rhythm, phrasing, and sentence melody). Another important component of the course will be on practical skills, such as the articulation and perception of speech sounds, transcription, and most importantly, instrumental analyses of speech. During the practice sessions, students will be applying what they have learned to analyzing and describing the sound system of an unfamiliar language. In doing so, students will also gain experience in writing up experimental results for publication.

Course objectives

After taking this class, students will acquire knowledge and insight into:

  • The process of human communication through speech and hearing.

  • The relationship between linguistic structure and speech sound.

  • Structure and dynamics of the human speech organs and hearing mechanism.

They will also learn:

  • To explain how speech is produced and how we can measure and quantify that process of production;

  • To hone their practical skills by analyzing speech in PRAAT

  • To formulate a linguistically inspired research question and address the question via instrumental analysis.

  • To analyze the phonetic structure of an unfamiliar language and write up a lab report.


Linguistics bachelor

Mode of instruction

Seminar in English which includes lectures, hands-on tutorials, and project.

Course Load

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 24 hours

  • Time to study the compulsory literature + preparing for the quizzes: 60 hours

  • Time to prepare for the final project: 56 hours

Assessment method

  1. Final exam (30%)
    1. In-class participation & homework (40%)
    2. Poster on the final project (30%)


This course is supported by Blackboard
, which will be used to provide students with an overview of the course, as well as specific information about updates/current affairs of the course.

Reading list

A. C. M. Rietveld & V. J. van Heuven. 2009. Algemene Fonetiek, derde aangevulde druk, Coutinho, Bussum.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


For questions about the content of the course, please contact the teacher:
Daan van de Velde

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats: osz-oa-wijkplaats@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk