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SPE8210 : MSc Phonetics II: Segment, Gesture and Prosody

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jalal-eddin Al-Tamimi
  • Other Staff: Professor Ghada Khattab
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


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:
5.1 understand the requirement to adapt practice to meet the needs of different groups and individuals
13.8 understand linguistics and phonetics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and all levels of typical processing
14.7 be able to 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
14.9 be able to analyse and critically evaluate the information collected
14.15 be able to use information and communication technologies appropriate to their practice

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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00N/A
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 ActivitiesWorkshops101:0010:00Lab 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.

Lectures will generally be asynchronous as this will allow students to practice theory and ask questions in the lab and through discussion board. Some Lectures will run PiP (semester 1: weeks 1, 2, 8).

Lab practicals are used to familiarise the students with the use of instrumental analyses techniques. Lab session will run PiP. If Covid-19 restrictions are to affect any PiP session, this will run SO

Small group tutorials are used to enable intensive practice in practical phonetic skills. Seminars will run PiP. If Covid-19 restrictions are to affect any PiP session, this will run SO

This hybrid approach of lectures being AS and Lab sessions/seminars PiP/SO will be used to support student’s learning by describing the theory in AS sessions and allowing opportunities to ask questions ahead of the PiP/SO session.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Aural Examination602A25Phonetic component 1 - Dictation - organised In House
Oral Examination102A25Phonetics component 2 - Oral - organised In House
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A50Phonetic component 3: Phonetic individual project (2000 words).
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Lab exercise1MFormative, spectrogram segmentation of analyses
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

All components of this module are 'essential' 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 (aural) assesses students' abilities to transcribe speech accurately using the IPA

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

Reading Lists