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Department of Linguistics

LING901: Phonetics and Phonology

Availability : D1 X1 X2
Credit Points: 4
Convenor: Felicity Cox

Unit Aims and Outcomes

The aim of this unit is to provide students with an introduction to the fields of phonetics and phonology.

At the successful completion of this unit you should:-

  • be familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet
  • be familiar with the principles of phonetic transcription and be able to perform simple broad and narrow phonetic transcription tasks
  • have an understanding of speech articulation
  • be familiar with the major characteristics of vowels and consonants and with a number of ways of classifying these speech sounds
  • understand the distinction between phonemes and allophones and the principles of phonemic analysis
  • be familiar with some of the ways that languages and dialects differ in both their phoneme inventories and the pronunciation of their phonemes
  • understand what Distinctive Features are and be able to use them in the analysis of phonemes and their pronunciation
  • understand the structure of syllables and how phonotactic constraints result in different sets of legal syllables for different languages
  • have a basic understanding of the principles of Generative Phonology and be able to understand and use phonological rules based this approach to phonology

In addition to the discipline-based learning objectives, academic programs at Macquarie seek to develop students’ generic skills, that is, skills that are generally applicable to study and workplace requirements, in a range of areas. The generic skills outcomes of this Unit are:-

  • self-awareness by exposing students to a range of sounds and sound systems that are present in many different languages and dialects. This requires contemplation, comparison and acceptance of difference. Reflection of how one’s own language fits into the mosaic of the world’s languages contributes to self awareness.
  • careful contemplation and listening skills
  • generalising what has been learned to novel situations
  • problem-solving which will be developed through a number of assessment tasks that hinge on the student’s ability to draw on knowledge developed throughout the unit.
  • self-discipline in organising adequate preparation for assessment tasks

Contacting Dr Cox

I am available for face-to-face student consultations by appointment. You should note that I also have other commitments during these times (such as other classes and meetings) so when contacting me you might like to suggest a few times that you are available. Please contact me by email (not by telephone) when requesting an appointment or if you wish to ask a question about the unit. Click on the link above (next to "Convenor") for contact details.

Whilst students are welcome to email me at any time, I will be keeping "email office hours". I will answer your emails within 7 days. I will answer urgent emails as quickly as possible. I reserve the right to determine what is "urgent". This policy has become necessary as the continuously growing volume of emails has become unmanageable and has interfered with our ability to perform other duties (including research and research student supervision).

Macquarie University student e-mail account

It is University policy that the University issued email account will be used for official University communication. All students are required to access their University account frequently. Alternatively, Email can be forwarded to another account but each student is responsible for the information sent to a non-Macquarie account and for managing mailbox size to ensure that account remains active. Your unit convenor cannot contact you via any other email address if a message has to be sent to all students enrolled in the unit. Your email account can be accessed via the portal, myMQ at    To Sign On to the portal use your Student Number, and your original MQID password (ie. 2 random characters followed by your date of birth in ddmmyy format). Your Email Address can be viewed in portal. The student email format will be (eg.