LING215-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022

Phonetics: The sounds of speech

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 21 February 2022
End Date: Sunday, 26 June 2022
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 6 March 2022
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 15 May 2022


This course is about phonetics - understanding how speech sounds are made. In the first part of the course, we learn how people articulate sounds. In the second part, we learn how to measure speech sounds using computer software. We will also learn how these skills can help us understand important issues in accent change, forensic linguistics, and speech pathology.

We are linguistic animals and we communicate primarily using sound.  Speech is our most common form of communication; speech plays a huge role in our everyday lives.   This course is about understanding speech.  In the first part of the course, we think carefully about how we produce sound, how the various muscles we use combine in order to create different sounds and how these sounds combine in turn to form speech (i.e. articulatory phonetics).  When we produce speech, we make changes to the air molecules around us (this is what we ‘hear’) and so in tandem with exploring speech articulation, on this course we will also learn about how we can measure and interpret changes in the air caused by speech (i.e. acoustic phonetics).  Because speech plays such a large part in our lives, it is difficult to discuss the properties of speech in isolation and so in the second part of this course, we explore connections between phonetics and other areas of linguistics.  Finally, we look at how an understanding of phonetics can impact on real world events.    

Prerequisite: Any 15 points at any level from LING
Restrictions: CMDS231


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will:

- Understand the central principles of acoustic and articulatory phonetics
- Be familiar with using new types of software to analyse speech
- Be able to transcribe speech in detail using the IPA

As a student in this course you will not only acquire subject specific skills, you will also acquire a number of transferrable skills.  For example, by the end of this course you will be able to...  

- Read critically and objectively
- Analyse phonetic data
- Meet deadlines

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Any 15 points at any level from LING.



Course Coordinator

Donald Derrick


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Take-home analysing data task 20% Due end week 6
Learn quizzes 30% 6 Learn quizzes assessing engagement with academic literature. Completed by Friday wk 12
Learn quizzes 20% 10 quizzes assessing engagement with lecture material. Completed by Friday wk 12
Essay 30% Due 13 June

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Ladefoged, Peter; Vowels and consonants : an introduction to the sounds of languages ; 2nd ed; Blackwell Pub., 2005.

Ladefoged, Peter. , Johnstone, Keith; A course in phonetics ; 6th ed; Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2011.

There is no set textbook for this course, but these two textbooks are highly recommended and will be referred to from time to time.

Not all of the course will follow the structure of these textbooks.  You are therefore not required to buy a copy of these books.  They can be accessed in the library from the short-loan section.

Course links

Library portal
The course outline is available on LEARN (only for students enrolled in this course).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $799.00

International fee $3,600.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All LING215 Occurrences

  • LING215-22S1 (C) Semester One 2022
  • LING215-22S1 (D) Semester One 2022 (Distance)