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Semester 1

Phonological Theory (LASC10088)


Language Sciences and Linguistics





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Visiting student must have completed at least 3 Linguistics/Language Sciences courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. This course cannot be taken alongside LEL2A (LASC08017). **The Language Sciences courses offered at the University of Edinburgh are extremely intensive and visiting students have struggled with these courses in previous years. Students are expected to have a strong background in Linguistics as an academic discipline; courses that are part of a Modern Foreign Languages degree may not provide students with an adequate background**

Course Summary

This course introduces students to the tools and techniques of phonological analysis and familiarizes them with a wide variety of phonological phenomena in diverse languages. The focus is on theory construction and hypothesis testing, with a significant data analysis component throughout the course.

Course Description

This course familiarises students with the diversity of sound patterns found in human language and equips them with the representational and computational tools necessary to analyse these patterns. Building on concepts such as phonemes and distinctive features, students will become familiar with architecture of generative phonology (the notion of phonological computation, underlying and surface representations) and elements of phonological analysis (segments, various approaches to featural structure including models of feature geometry, syllabic, moraic and foot structure, stress, tone etc.). The course uses data from a broad range of typologically diverse languages to make students aware of the range of cross-linguistic variation in phonology, introduce relevant analytical concepts, and provide training in their use for phonological analysis. Students will also become familiar with some key questions bearing on the interaction of phonology with other components of the language faculty and with important theoretical controversies (markedness, abstractness, phonological and phonetic representations etc.). Over the course of the semester, students will work with scholarly literature to extract information regarding the phonological patterns of a language of their choice. The assessment will require them to present this data, offer an analysis and provide theoretically informed discussion of any issues that it raises.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

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