Articulatory Phonetics and Typology of Sounds


Course Objective

At the end of this course, students are capable of recognising and
producing the sounds of the languages of the world as well as
transcribing them using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Students will also be able to read written material in phonetic
transcription, and be able to make the bridge from an inventory of the
phonetic sounds of a language to its phoneme inventory.

Course Content

Articulatory phonetics deals with the production, perception,
identification and categorization of speech sounds. In this course, we
study the sounds of the world’s languages: we learn how to recognize
them, produce them, and to transcribe them. We will also study how
particular segments and segment types are distributed across the
languages of the world. The course also includes a phonological
component, where students will learn how to get from a language’s
inventory of phonetic sounds to its inventory of phonemes. Being able to
read and write the International Phonetic Alphabet is a useful asset for
further linguistic studies in general, but practical knowledge of
articulatory phonetics, and a typological background of sound systems is
mandatory if you intend to do primary language data collection in the

Teaching Methods

Students will need to spend a significant amount of time practising the
sounds individually at home, using various (internet) resources that
will be suggested during the course. Classes: 4 hours a week.

Method of Assessment

Regular attendence of classes is required (at least 80% of the classes).
Final transcription test: 70%
Final test about readings / phonology: 30%
You need to score a pass grade (5.5 or higher) for both the
transcription test and the final test in order to pass the course

Entry Requirements

BA in linguistics or BA in a particular language; MA/BA in Anthropology
or Bible Translation. This course is a prerequisite for the elective
course Field Methods & Linguistic Analysis.


Do not purchase any of these books yet.

Bickford, Anita C. and Rick Floyd. 2003 [3rd ed. or any later editions].
Tools for Analyzing the world’s languages: Articulatory Phonetics.
Dallas, Texas: SIL International.

Additional Reading:
(1) Ladefoged, Peter and Ian Maddieson. 1996. The Sounds of the World’s
Languages. Oxford: Blackwell (selected sections).
(2) Catford, J.C., 2001 [2nd edition]. A practical introduction to
Phonetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press (selected chapters).

Typology readings:
Selected chapters on the typology of sounds from The World Atlas of
Language Structures (Oxford, 2005), also available online:

Target Audience

Master's students in Linguistics (Language Consultancy and Linguistic
Documentation); Research Master's students in Humanities (Linguistics).

General Information

Course Code L_TAMATWS010
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
Examiner prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
Teaching Staff prof. dr. L.J. de Vries

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: