Faculty of Arts




This course is about the speech sounds of the languages of the world. Given that there are 6,000+ languages in the world, there is a rather large range of variation in the sounds that are used to put together words and phrases in language, as well as the rules that govern those sounds.

The aim of this course is to explore the dynamics of speech sounds through the lens of modern phonological theories and approaches. Many contemporary approaches assume that the analysis of one language could lend insights into the structure of other languages, or in the typology of languages, making predictions about how speech sounds behave. Sometimes these approaches make good typological predictions; other times, there are glaring counterexamples.

This course will lead students through a "greatest hits" of contemporary phonological theory, asking the questions: "Are we describing languages in the right way? Are we analysing them in the right way? What insights do alternative approaches lend to the study of the structure of a particular language, or what universals exist which underlie all of the world's languages?"

Availability 2021

Not taught in 2021




Recommended Reading


LINGUIST 722: 15.0 points

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