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The University of Southampton

LING2008 Sound and Voice

Module Overview

This course builds on the basic concepts of phonetics introduced in the first year, with an introduction to acoustic science for the study of speech sounds.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how different sounds are produced and propagated and their acoustic and visible characteristics;
  • the physiology of the human vocal tract and the importance of evolutionary data;
  • the usefulness of technology and abstract models for examining complex “surface” features;
  • hearing impairment and audibility;
  • methods of measurement of speech recognition performance;
  • how lip reading may assist speech recognition.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • engage with theory and practice in phonetics;
  • appreciate critically certain key notions and concepts;
  • reflect on the usefulness of advanced understanding of phonetics for the study of languages.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of elements of theory and debate
  • work effectively in different modes: carrying out tasks, presenting findings, collaborating with partners and exchanging ideas in seminars;
  • convey ideas in a structured, coherent manner;
  • be critical in an area typically associated, at a less advanced level, with “cut-and-dried” facts.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • isolate and recognise sounds in relation to articulatory features;
  • transcribe “unknown” sounds using the IPA;
  • describe the basic concepts of speech science, particularly as they are relevant to understanding the elements of hearing and sound recognition;
  • demonstrate basic understanding of how lip reading complements auditory speech perception;
  • use software to analyse the acoustic properties of sound.


This module is intended for those who have studied basic phonetics and phonology in your first year. It comprises more advanced articulatory phonetics and an introduction to acoustic phonetics (the study of the sound-waves corresponding to speech-sounds), and its application to issues in language learning. This module is especially useful for those students wishing to go into speech and language therapy. There is an emphasis on challenging certain assumptions in phonetics (e.g. the cardinal vowel system, the IPA classification of consonants, the idea that speech consists, on the phonetic level, of a sequence of discreet modules) and in the study of the evolution of speech (how and why humans can speak; e.g. challenging so-called “choking theory”). A further aim is to move on from literature aimed at the general reader or the beginner and to familiarise you with the more technical styles of writing commonly used by specialists in the field.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include  2 sessions (lecture, seminar) per week. Learning activities include  Practical activities and tasks (e.g. debate, transcription, analysis).

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

ASHBY M. & J. MAIDMENT (2005). Introducing Phonetic Science. 

in-house introduction to phonetics. The in-house introduction to phonetics by R. Ball (available online at, used in Year 1, will be useful if you wish to revise basic material, as will the encyclopedia complied by P. Roach online at:


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  Feedback on preparation for seminar exercises (there will be reading passages for each week, with some exercises to prepare).


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 40%
Practical assignment  (2000 words) 30%
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