LING450:  Introduction to Linguistic Phonetics

Autumn, 2005


Instructor:  Alicia Beckford Wassink                                                       

Location: THO 134

Office:  Padelford A217                                                                              

Time:  10:30-12:20pm

Office Hours:  MW 3:30-4:30 and by appt.


Office Phone:  616-9589

Quick Links:

Dept. Phone:  543-2046 (Dept. of Linguistics Office)

View an example quiz from a past quarter

Instructor's Email:

Instructions for Final Project


Sample Final Exam




               This course is an introductory survey of phonetic theory and an introduction to phonological theory.  We will explore the articulatory and acoustic correlates of phonological features.  We will also study some of the systematic variation in speech sounds that form the basis for phonological structure.  In this course, learning is accomplished primarily by doing -- we will learn to transcribe and produce a wide variety of language sounds. Students will have the opportunity to complete an in-depth investigation into the sound system of a language of their choosing.

               This is a 5-credit course.  In addition to 4 hours of class time, there will be a 1 hour lab section per week.  Labtime is self scheduled.  You will spend time in the Language Learning Center (LLC), Denny Hall rm 108,*. Usually lab assignments are due 1 week from the day they are assigned on the syllabus.  Please be sure to schedule your lab times carefully, remembering that your classmates will also need to sign up to use the LLC facilities. The LLC website lists the hours that the lab is open. (*Note:  Look at the blue vertical bar on the left side of the screen, and click on “Linguistics” in the long list of languages.)


               (1) To gain practical experience in producing and transcribing speech sounds that occur in the world's languages

               (2)  To investigate the structure of speech sounds (physiological, acoustic and perceptual) and how these sounds function linguistically in different languages

               (3) To gain practical experience in phonetic experimentation

               Course prerequisites: LING200, LING400 (for linguistics majors) or equivalent (ENGL370).  Recommended prerequisite: LING450

               I will happily accommodate special needs that students bring to my attention.  For help with accommodations contact Disabled Student Services:  448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924,

Required work:

       Graduate students:  Final paper due at my office 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12, 2005. No extensions will be granted, so please don't ask!

               A few words about assigned work:  With the exception of the first class, all readings are to be done before the relevant class (i.e., the class with which they are listed on the syllabus).  Assignments are to be handed in at the beginning of class on the due date listed next to the assignment.  Assignments that are turned in at the end of the class period or on another date will NOT be accepted unless arrangements have been made with the instructor before the class period in which they are due.  If you are sick, please call me or email me to let me know and hand in the assignment on the day you return to class.

               Students are encouraged to work together on homework, labs and in studying for exams or quizzes.  However, each student must hand in his/her own work with one name per assignment only.  Exams and final papers are to be done on your own, of course.  Any evidence of cheating or plagiarism will be referred to the university authorities and dealt with accordingly.


               Transcriptions are used to give help the student develop a phonetician’s trained ear.  Many types of investigation in phonetics, sociolinguistics, and phonology require auditory analysis.  Precision is important, as is being able to articulate why a particular transcription was made.  However, listening for fine phonetic detail is also an art. For this reason, transcriptions will be graded on the following scale:

               √+=16 points (students’ place of articulation and manner judgements are largely correct or justifiable for all words transcribed)

               √=12 points (some minor place of articulation errors, but manner judgements correct for all words)

               √-=8 points (some minor errors in both place of articulation and manner of articulation; or major errors in one dimension)

               0=0 points  (major errors in place and manner of articulation; you were clearly guessing your way through the exercise)


Required reading:

1.) Course text: Ladefoged, P. (2000) A Course in Phonetics, 4th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers

2.) Required coursepack:  Ave Copycenter

Optional reading (highly recommended):

1.) Ladefoged, P. (2001) Vowels and Consonants.  Oxford: Blackwell Publishers




(1)  One good quality cassette recorder, preferably with external microphone, and some cassette tapes will be necessary for term projects. Some equipment is available from the phonetics lab.

*No microcassette tapes, please.

(2)  Students may wish to know the names of the software packages we will extensively use this quarter. They are:

For your information

Other introductory texts:

         Borden, G. & Harris, K. S. (1984)  Speech science primer: Physiology, acoustics, and perception of speech. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins

         Fry, D. B. (1989) The physics of speech, Cambridge: Cambridge

         Kent, R. D. & Read, C. (1992) The acoustic analysis of speech. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group

         Johnson, K. (1997) Acoustic & Auditory PhoneticsOxford: Blackwell

Other general texts:

         Comrie, Bernard (1987) The world's major languages. New York: Oxford University Press

         Ladefoged, P. and I. Maddieson (1996) The sounds of the world's languages.  Oxford:  Blackwell

Following are some of the principal journals in phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics and general linguistics:

               Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

               Journal of the International Phonetic association

               Journal of Phonetics



               Speech Communication   

               UCLA working papers in phonetics


               Language Variation and Change

               English World-wide

               Natural Language and Linguistic Theory

Online resources: (Sounds of the World's Languages) (UCLA phonetics laboratory)  (information about languages and language families) (Journal of Phonetics) (International Phonetic Association;  the International Phonetic Alphabet may be obtained here)  (Linguistic Society of America) (listserver for linguists) (UC Santa Cruz Speech related links)


**NOTE: SOWL Will NOT be available on ALL of the machines in the CALL Lab, you will need to ask the monitor for the location of the “Legacy” machine (the one that runs under MAC OS9 and can run SOWL).**  Other campus computing labs MAY have SOWL (and MAC OS9), such as Mary Gates Hall and OUGL.  This is important because you must complete labs 2 and 3 using SOWL.



SYLLABUS (last updated: 9/27/05)

Students are strongly recommended to use the CD accompanying Vowels and Consonants to supplement readings

Key to abbreviations

ACIP = A Course in Phonetics

V&C = Vowels and Consonants






Articulatory phonetics




W 9/28

ACIP ch 1 (V&C ch 1)

p. 16A, p. 17 C (due 10/3)

1:  Go to the LLC and explore the phonetics tools.  On a sheet of paper, pose one question ABOUT PHONETICS pertaining to one tool you have found. (due 10/5)

Phonetic transcription

2 (WK 2)


ACIP ch 2, 3 (V&C ch 10)

p. 32-3 #1-29, p. 61-2 A (due 10/5)



W 10/5

ACIP ch 4 (V&C ch 3, 11)

In-class practice transcription exercise (ungraded): American English consonants and vowels

p. 87G (due 10/10)

2: English consonants and non-English language sounds (due 10/12)

Intonation and prosody



4 (WK 3)


Transcription tutorial; ACIP ch 5 (V&C 2)

p. 108-9 D, E (due 10/12)




Finish intonation



The sounds of American English, and non-English language sounds

6 (WK 4)


ACIP ch 5 (V&C 2, cont.)


3: English consonants and non-English language sounds (part 2, due 10/24)



American English dialect sounds; a sociolinguistics primer.

Combined lecture: Michael Scanlon




Airstream mechanisms and phonation types

8 (WK 5)


ACIP ch 6 (V&C 12)

p. 134-5 E (due 10/31)





More airstream mechanisms

p. 133 C  (11/2)

4: Korean VOT measurement

(due 11/7)

Place and manner of articulation

10 (WK 6)


ACIP ch 7 (V&C 13)





In-class transcription exercise 1

p. 156 A (due 11/9)


Introduction to Acoustics

12 (WK 7)


ACIP ch 8  

p. 197 A&B (due 11/14)




ACIP ch 8, cont.



Acoustics of vowel and consonant sounds



14 (WK 8)

M 11/14

No class




W 11/16

ACIP ch 8, cont.


5: Measurement of Indiana vowels

(due 11/23)

16 (WK 9)


ACIP ch  9 (V&C 4, 5)



Phonology: Natural classes and features


W 11/23

In-class transcription exercise 2



18 (WK 10)

M 11/28


ACIP ch 10




W 11/30

ACIP ch 11

Handout (due 12/5)


Rule ordering and derivations



20 (WK 11)

M 12/5

Odden ch 6 (phonological rules)

Handout (due 12/7)



W 12/7

In-class transcription exercise 3; Odden ch 7 (phonological rules)