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English Phonetics and Phonology

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

The course provides the student with a broad introduction to English phonetics and phonology, and to the study of English accents. It focuses on the sound systems of two model accents of English (Received Pronunciation and General American), including intonation patterns as well as consonants and vowels. In addition, it introduces the topics of accent variation, sound change and international variants of English. The course gives an overview of basic concepts and terminology within phonetics and phonology, combined with practical exercises.

Learning outcome

The student will gain knowledge of:
  • the English sound system
  • the processes of continuous English speech
  • the main intonation patterns in English and their functions
  • the differences between British English and American English pronunciation based on the model accents Received Pronunciation (RP) and General American (GA)
  • the main differences between these and other major accents of English, and the concept of sound change
  • the most common problems in the acquisition of English pronunciation, with special reference to Norwegian learners

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:
  • explain how English sounds are articulated
  • read and produce phonemic transcriptions
  • identify processes that take place in continuous English speech
  • explain the basic functions of English intonation
  • distinguish between the RP and GA accents and describe the main differences between them
  • explain why certain aspects of English pronunciation may cause problems to second-language learners, especially Norwegian ones

General competence:
By the end of the course, the students will be able to:
  • understand how speech sounds are used to create meaning
  • apply their knowledge of English phonetics and phonology to improve their own pronunciation, in further studies of languages and linguistics and in teaching
  • understand how English accents vary and change
  • be able to express themselves in appropriate academic English


The course focuses on several broad topics within the field of English phonetics and phonology. The central course components include consonant and vowel production in RP and GA, suprasegmental features, such as stress, connected speech and intonation, as well as international variants of English (World Englishes). In addition, a significant aspect of the course is work on phonemic transcription. Due to the relevance of the concepts introduced during the course for students' overall communicative competence, a lot of attention will be given to their ability to recognize and interpret various phenomena of connected speech, speech sound distinctions and different intonation patterns in native and non-native English speakers' speech, as well as to their ability to produce them in their own speech.

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended previous knowledge

The course presupposes a solid command of written and spoken English.


Midterm exam and oral exam
Weight Duration Marks Aid
Midterm exam1/34 hoursA - FNone permitted
Oral exam2/330 minutesA - FNone permitted
The student has to pass the midterm exam in order to take the final oral exam. The student has to pass both the midterm and the final to pass the course.
English language and academic writing skills are taken into account in the grading, as well as the course content.

Coursework requirements

Submission of three short home assignments, attendance at a minimum of five group seminars.
Regular attendance is strongly recommended, as the course contains a large element of hands-on practice.
In order to take the final oral exam, students must have passed the three assignments and the midterm exam. In addition, they must have attended at least five group.
Students who get one or more assignment assessed as not approved at their first attempt, are given one opportunity to hand in a revised assignment.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Oliver Martin Traxel
Course teacher
Nancy Marie Wood
Programme coordinator
Anne Marie Nygaard , Margrethe Melin

Method of work

A combination of lectures and group work at seminars. Independent work on exercises.

Overlapping courses

Course Reduction (SP)
The Sounds of English (ENG140_1) 10
The Sounds of English (MENG140_1) 10
English Words and Sounds (ÅEN140_1) 10
The Sounds of English (ÅEN140_2) 10
English Phonetics and Phonology (LENG195_1) 15

Open to

English Language and Literature - Bachelor's Degree Programme, English - One-year programme, History - Bachelor's Degree Programme, Religious Studies - Bachelor's Degree Programme, Nordic Language and Literature - Bachelor's Degree Programme, Teacher Education including an MA.

Course assessment

Quality control by students is a central element of the UiS plan to improve teaching. In the Department of Cultural Studies and Languages this system includes student evaluation of courses.


Literatur will be published as soon as it has been prepared by the course coordinator/teacher

This is the study programme for 2020/2021.

Sist oppdatert: 23.10.2020