Module Catalogue 2024/25

SPE8210 : MSc Phonetics II: Segment, Gesture and Prosody

SPE8210 : MSc Phonetics II: Segment, Gesture and Prosody

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Cong Zhang
  • Lecturer: Professor Ghada Khattab
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module serves as a foundation in instrumental, acoustic and advanced articulatory phonetics. The main aims are:

1. To further develop an understanding of articulatory phonetics and listening and transcription skills, building on what the students will have covered in year one.
2. To introduce the students to Acoustic Phonetics, the branch of phonetics that deals with the properties of sound waves.
3. Building upon theoretical foundations in speech production and perception, to enable students to use instrumental techniques for speech analysis, including clinical analysis of speech. The focus will be on spectrography since this is by far the most widely-used and versatile method.

In relation to HCPC Standards of Proficiency, this module addresses aspects of the following standards but is not the only module to do so:

7.3 understand the characteristics and consequences of verbal and non-verbal communication and recognise how these can be affected by difference of any kind, including, but not limited to, protected characteristics, intersectional experiences and cultural differences
12.2 demonstrate awareness of the principles and applications of scientific enquiry, including the evaluation of treatment efficacy and the research process
12.7 understand linguistics and phonetics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and all levels of typical processing and the differences for individuals whose home language is not English
13.13 administer, record, score and interpret a range of published and self generated assessment tools to describe and analyse service users’ abilities and needs using, where appropriate, phonetic transcription, linguistic analysis, instrumental analysis and psycholinguistic assessment
13.14 apply knowledge of communication impairment, linguistics, phonetics, psychology and biomedical sciences to the identification, assessment and differential diagnosis of a range of communication and swallowing impairments

Outline Of Syllabus

This module introduces the students to instrumental techniques and covers:

1. Introduction into instrumental and acoustic phonetics
2. Sound and sound waves
3. Source and filter theory of speech production
4. Introduction to the software Praat that will be used for instrumental analyses of speech
5. Acoustic properties of sounds
6. Connected speech processes
7. Acoustic analysis in the assessment of consonants
8. Phonological assessment of vowels (bearing in mind dialectal differences)
9. Phonological assessment of prosody
10. Auditory phonetics and perception of speech
11. Acoustic analyses in the assessment of voice disorder/Phonological theory and application in an SLT context.

In relation to the RCSLT curriculum guidance, the module covers aspects related to phonetics and linguistics (4.4.1) including phonetics and clinical application, general linguistics and clinical applications (phonology) and sociolinguistics.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The Intended Knowledge Outcomes for this module are:

To be able to identify the principal acoustic and aerodynamic properties of speech
To be able to relate articulatory and acoustics properties of speech
To be able to perform a segmentation of spectrograms using relevant information from the acoustic trace and
more general information about variability in speech
To be able to perform acoustic analyses of speech signals using a computer software (Praat) and be able to recognise the available information in distinguishing between sound categories.
To be able to discover the role of acoustic analysis in analysing disordered speech by analysing speech samples and examining relevant cases from the available literature
To be able to recognise elementary aspects of hearing and speech perception
To be able to appraise the breadth of phonological phenomena which can be incorporated under the heading
‘phonological assessment’
To be able to evaluate the practical and theoretical assumptions involved in carrying out a phonological
To be able to evaluate key issues relating to the phonetic assessment of atypical speech (diagnostic intelligibility testing, data sampling and profiling).
To be able to use their acquired knowledge of acoustic analyses in evaluating voice disorder.
To be able to identify key concepts relating to the suprasegmental features of speech (to include stress,
intonation, rhythm, voice)

Intended Skill Outcomes

The Intended Skill Outcomes for this module are:

To be able to use various instrumental techniques for speech analysis
To be able to listen objectively to speech and to carry out broad and narrow transcriptions of speech sounds
using the International Phonetic Association (IPA) transcription conventions
To be able to distinguish and produce most of the sounds of the IPA
To be able to record sound in the laboratory
To be able to generate and interpret a spectrographic representation of an utterance
To be able to carry out acoustic analyses of speech signals on normal and disordered speech
To be able to work on a project involving analysis of acoustic data and subsequent reporting of results

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00Lectures on acoustic phonetics
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion144:0044:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical91:009:00Used to practice production, transcript and recognition of the IPA and the extended IPA sound system
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops141:0014:00Lab sessions used to allow in depth practice in instrumental techniques of speech sounds.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1120:00120:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Knowledge outcomes are addressed through lectures to introduce concepts, plus guided reading to allow students to follow these up in more depth.

Lab practicals are used to familiarise the students with the use of instrumental analyses techniques.

Small group tutorials are used to enable intensive practice in practical phonetic skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination302A25Phonetic component 1 - Dictation - in-person digital exam using Inspera
Oral Examination102A25Phonetics component 2 - Oral - organised in House
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A50Phonetic component 3: Phonetic individual project
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

All essential components of this module are to be passed to allow for progression.

The phonetics project requires students to use their knowledge of articulatory and acoustic properties of speech to perform a spectrogram segmentation while taking into account linguistic and social variability in speech.

The phonetics transcription test (digital exam) assesses students' abilities to transcribe speech accurately using the IPA conventions.

The phonetics oral transcription test assesses the students’ abilities to produce the sounds of the IPA.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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