Bachelor in Phonology

This programme offers a specialised Master's degree in phonology.

It combines the advantages of a traditional taught programme with a strong research preparation component.

As in a traditional specialised Master's degree programme, you will attend a variety of high level classes exposing you to current internationally recognised research in linguistics undertaken by members of staff.


At the end of this module: You will be familiar with the basic symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet, including all those symbols needed to describe English You will know the terminology appropriate to the description of consonants and vowels, including the parameters of description on the IPA chart You will understand something of the relationship between the sounds of speech and the abstract linguistic system that underlies them, as well as the relationship of phonetics and phonology to the wider linguistic system You will understand the basic structure of sound systems across languages, and the ways in which this is established analytically You will know some of the types of unit that are commonly used in phonology, such as phonemes and features You will be familiar with some common phonological phenomena and formal accounts of them, including a range of notational devices such as rules and hierarchical representation Behavioural outcomes At the end of this module: You will be able to recognise many of the sounds of the IPA chart and the parameters along which sounds can vary, and describe them using appropriate terminology and symbolisation You will be able to establish phonological categories on the basis of contrast You will be able to produce simple phonetic descriptions and broad phonetic transcriptions of short stretches of speech You will be able to provide appropriate structural descriptions of syllables using appropriate phonological notation You will be able to compare competing analyses of simple phenomena and evaluate their relative succes


This module covers the basics of sociolinguistics, the subdiscipline of linguistics which deals with linguistic variability and the social use of language, as well as the relationship between these and language change.

The aims of this module are:

  • to give you an awareness of the causes and parameters of variation in language, and the roles of variation in communication
  • to familiarise you with key concepts, terminology and theories in sociolinguistics, particularly those pertaining to linguistic variation and language change
  • to introduce the methodologies used to investigate variation
  • to give you experience in handling data collected from studies of language variation
  • to give you experience of the kinds of argumentation employed in interpreting empirical data
  • to allow you to explore how speakers use variation in their own speech to signal social identity, and how they evaluate other speakers’ identities through their perception of variation
  • to teach you something of the value of studying variation for the development of linguistic theory

Knowledge outcomes

  • a general understanding of the causes and effects of linguistic variation and change
  • a general understanding of methodologies for studying variation and change
  • a general understanding of how variation is structured geographically, socially and through time, in English and other languages
  • a general understanding of how studying variation and change contributes to linguistic theory, and vice versa students will develop an awareness of the ethical considerations involved in performing empirical work in the field

Behavioural outcomes

  • students will learn to identify variation in spontaneous speech
  • students will be able to identify internal and external constraints on variability students will be able to handle data quantitatively
  • students will develop an ability to interpret statistics
  • students will be able to conduct small scale research on variation


This module familiarises students with two basic skills:

  • Core syntactic concepts
  • Methodologies employed in developing such concepts

Modern syntactic theories, as a branch of science, aim to account for as many facts as possible using the smallest number of hypotheses. Students will learn how this is done.

Knowledge outcomes

You will understand:

  • The goals of syntactic theory: observational, descriptive and explanatory adequacy
  • Scientific (and syntactic) argumentation
  • Cross-linguistic variations and their explanation
  • The notions of productivity and recursion
  • The basic nature of Universal Grammar
  • The competence/performance distinction in linguistics
  • The difference between lexical and functional categories
  • Basic grammatical and thematic relations
  • The distinction between arguments and modifiers

Behavioural outcomes

You will be able to:

  • Identify the lexical category of English words
  • Apply syntactic tests for constituency
  • Gloss and label examples
  • Identify clause boundaries in complex sentences
  • Identify different types of verbal category
  • Identify grammatical functions, such as subjects and objects
  • Draw trees and labeled brackets for basic English sentences
  • Identify major clause types: passive, relatives, interrogatives etc


The module aims to equip students with the basic conceptual and formal tools of semantics and to a lesser extent of pragmatics.

Students will learn how to formulate limited hypotheses and test them using basic semantic tests. Expected outcomes are listed below.

Knowledge outcomes

At the end of this module you will understand:

  • The distinction between different semantic levels (lexical, sentential, discoursal)
  • The relationship between syntax and semantics
  • The distinction between semantics and pragmatics
  • The relationship between words, concepts, and things/facts (sense, reference, extension/intension)
  • The importance of entailment and the distinction between entailment, presupposition and inference
  • The importance of truth and truth conditions
  • The importance and function of a formal metalanguage
  • Basic logical and set-theoretic concepts, operations and notation

Behavioural outcomes

You will be able to:

  • Distinguish between semantic anomaly and ungrammaticality
  • Apply semantic tests for entailment, implication and presupposition
  • Evaluate predicate logic formulae
  • Translate sentences of English into logic (and, to a lesser extent, vice-versa)
  • Write basic set-theoretic formulae
  • Construct a model
  • Identify well-formed formulae in propositional and predicate logic


Through completion of the course students should be able to demonstrate: An increased understanding of the structures of the French language The ability to analyse grammatical aspects, understand and produce them in context



In this module you will learn the basic vocabulary and concepts needed to talk about English grammar. We will start with the smallest meaningful units, morphemes, and investigate how these combine to make words. From here we will explore how words can be formed into larger units called phrases, and then how phrases combine into clauses. At the end of the module, you should be able to: use the meta-language of grammar to talk about English demonstrate an understanding of the way in which words and sentences are constructed break sentences down into their constituent parts analyse naturally occurring English texts (speech and writing)



This module is intended to develop your language proficiency; to consolidate and expand your written and oral skills in order to achieve accurate and idiomatic expression and sound comprehension of oral/aural material. This module will also lay the groundwork for the more advanced study of French at Levels I and H.

Satisfactory completion of the course should enable you to:

  • Be able to understand and discuss contemporary written and aural authentic materials and have some understanding of the social, cultural and institutional references they contain
  • Present and defend a point of view in accurate, fluent and idiomatic French in the context of exposés and debates
  • Achieve a good degree of accuracy in the production of written assignments in French