SSST Subjects

The Phonetics and Phonology of English 1 

Faculty of Modern Languages


Department of English


Programme(s) where module is offered

  • BA English and Applied Studies

Status (core, option, free choice)



FHEQ Level



Unit Value



Semester taught



Pre-Requisite Modules or Qualifications



Module Code



Module coordinator

Emeritus Professor Midhat Riđanović, PhD


Applicable From



Educational Aims of the Module

  • The main aim of the course is to familiarize the students with the articulation of the sounds of standard English, both in its British and American variant (BBC/RP English, General American).
  • Students will be introduced to phonological concepts, such as phonemes, the means of describing sounds (phonemes) and the International Phonetic Alphabet.
  • The main practical aim of the course is to help the students acquire as good a pronunciation of English as possible.
  • For this purpose, students will be exposed to specimens of spoken English as pronounced by native speakers.
  • Also, because of the natural tendency to substitute the sounds of one's native language for similar sounds of a foreign language, English sounds will be systematically compared with their closest Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian counterparts, and students will be taught how to avoid these “traps” of their native languages.
  • All phonetic descriptions will be fitted into the appropriate phonological framework, with special attention being devoted to phonemes and allophonic variants.
  • Attention will also be devoted to stress, rhythm, intonation and the special phonetic phenomena of connected speech.

Module Outline/Syllabus

  • What is phonetics?
  • Different branches of phonetics. Difference between phonetics and phonology. The phoneme and its allophones. Complementary distribution.
  • Speech organs and their function in the production of speech. Different classes and subclasses of speech sounds. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). 
  • Articulation of the sounds of English in standard British English (RP/BBC) and in major varieties of the language, such as American English and Northern British English. 
  • Cardinal vowels. 
  • English vowels – front, central, and back, monophtongs, diphthongs, triphthongs.
  • English consonants English consonants - Obstruents (plosives, affricates, fricatives) 
  • Sonorants (nasals and approximants). 
  • Introduction to the suprasegmental features of English. Word and sentence stress. Stress in compounds.
  • Introduction to features of connected speech and weak forms.

Student Engagement Hours

Type Number per Term Duration Total Time
Lectures 15 2 hours 30 hours
Tutorials 15 2 hours 30 hours
Total Guided/Independent Learning Hours 90
Total Contact Hours 60
Total Engagement Hours 150

Assessment Method Summary

Type Number Required Duration / Length Weighting Timing / Submission Deadline
Exam 1 3 hrs 50% End of semester
Midterm Test 1 2 hrs 20% Mid-semester
Subject tests and assignments 3 Tests app. 1.5 hrs
30% One before the midterm
(Week 8), and two after the

Module Outcomes

Teaching and Learning Strategy:

  • Presentations by the module convenor. (ILO: 1-5)
  • Practical exercises and assignments as a follow-up to course presentations, or as part of seminars. (ILO: 1-5)
  • Reading practice - drilling the sounds of English in words, phrases and sentences (ILO: 1-5) 
  • Individual assignments (ILO: 1-5) 
  • Consultations with students. (ILO: 1-5)
  • Presentations by the module convenor. (PS: 1-2)
  • Practical exercises and assignments as a follow-up to course presentations, or as part of seminars. (PS: 1-2) 
  • Reading practice - drilling the sounds of Engli2h in words, phrases and sentences (PS: 1-2)
  • Individual assignments (PS: 1-2) 
  • Consultations with students. (PS: 1-2)
  • Presentations by the module convenor. (TS: 1-4) 
  • Practical exercises and assignments as a follow-up to course presentations, or as part of seminars. (TS: 1-4)
  • Reading practice - drilling the sounds of English in words, phrases and sentences (TS: 1-3)
  • Individual assignments (PS: 1-4)
  • Consultations with students. (PS: 1-4)

Assessment Strategy

  • Midterm -  20%(ILO: 1-4)
  • Other coursework (Assignments and quizzes) - 30% (ILO: 1-5)
  • Final Exam   – 50%  (ILO: 1-5)
  • Midterm -  20% (TS: 1-2)
  • Other coursework (Assignments and quizzes)  - 30% (TS: 1-2)
  • Final Exam  – 50% (TS: 1-2)
  • Midterm -  25% (TS: 1-4)
  • Other coursework (Assignments and quizzes)  - 25%  (TS: 1-4)
  • Final Exam  – 50%  (TS: 1-4)

Key Texts and/or other learning materials

Set text

  • Roach, Peter J. (2009). English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course (4th edition). Cambridge: CUP. This comes with 2 Audio CDs, to be used in the tutorial sessions.

Supplementary Materials

  • Cruttenden, Alan (2014). Gimson’s Pronounciation of English (8th ed). London: Hodder Education  

Please note

This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the module and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.  More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each module and programme can be found in the departmental or programme handbook.  The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Date of Production : 2014

Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee:

Date approved by School Board of Study :

Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee:

Date of Annual Review:


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