Applied Linguistics 627
Phonetics and Phonemics
Spring 2013

C. Meyer
Office: Wheatley 6-68
Office Phone: 287-6748 (email is a better way to reach me)
To get this syllabus on line, go to: Blackboard or
E-Mail: charles [dot] meyer [at] umb [dot] edu
Office hours: Th: 2:00-4:00 or by appointment

Required Books (available in the bookstore or from Amazon):

Ashby and Maidment, Introducing Phonetic Science
Celce-Murcia, Brinton, and Goodwin, Teaching Pronunciation, 2nd ed. (2010)

Blackboard Vista

We will be using the Blackboard Learn online learning system to communicate outside class. Information on how to use and log into Blackboard can be found here. I will talk more about this in class.

Course Goals:
The course has three primary goals: (1) to familiarize you with the sound system of English and other languages; (2) to enable you to use this knowledge to better teach pronunciation to students learning English as an additional language; and (3) to investigate how technology can facilitate the study and teaching of speech sounds. To accomplish these goals, we will study the consonants and vowels of English and other languages, practice doing phonetic transcriptions, survey some phonological processes, investigate intonation and stress, do some accoustical analyses, survey the sounds of the major dialects of English, and discuss the differences between speech and writing. Throughout our discussion of these topics, we will explore how the theoretical principles we are studying can be applied in the ESL/bilingual/foreign language classroom.
Course requirements:

(1) Regular attendance

(2) Class participation

(3) Familiarity with UMass-Boston's policies on plagiarism and academic dishonesty

(4) Two transcription exercises (1/3 of final grade)

(5) One take-home exam that will be given towards the middle of the semester and cover phonetics, phonology, and acoustic phonetics (topics covered through March 28). There will not be a final exam. (1/3 of final grade).

(6) A paper (10-15 double-spaced typed pages) that (a) contains an analysis of the speech of a non-native speaker of English (or a group of non-native speakers), and that (b) uses the results of this analysis to determine the most effective pedagogical strategy for teaching pronunciation to the individual(s) studied. (1/3 of final grade).

Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability and feel you will need accommodations in order to complete course requirements, please contact the Ross Center for Disability Services (Campus Center, second floor, room 2010) at 617-287-7430)

Academic Support Services

If you’d like help with your writing, go to the Graduate Writing Center, Campus Center (within Academic Support), 1st Floor Rm. 1100 Phone: 617-287-6550, email: Even though the writing assignment is not due for a while, it's best to set up a tutoring session as soon as possible: as the semester progresses, the Writing Center gets quite busy.

Electronic Devices

Please make sure that all cell phones are turned off (including those set to vibrate). It's fine to use the campus WiFi during class for class-related purposes, but please no web surfing, texting, checking email, etc. during class.


CBG = Celce-Murcia, Brinton, and Goodwin, Teaching Pronunciation

AM = Ashby and Maidment, Introducing Phonetic Science

Readings that are underlined and highlighted can be found by clicking on the article title

All other readings are on e-reserve (to obtain an article on e-reserve, go here and then click 'accept' after typing in the course password, which I will give you in class)


Jan. 31: Discussion of course policies and goals; introduction to the study of speech sounds.

Overview of the Study of Sound Systems

Feb. 7: "Introduction to Speech," AM, pp. 1-16; CBG, "The History and Scope of Pronunciation Teaching," pp. 2-14, and "Research on the Teaching and Acquisition of Pronunciation Skills," pp. 15-39; "International Phonetic Association"; Introduction to software that can be used to work with speech: Audacity (for recording speech) and SoundScriber (for transcribing speech); IPA Character Picker (for doing phonetic transcriptions); Dillon, "Resources for Studying Spoken English" (note: some dead links, but still a useful resource).

English Consonants

Feb. 14: "Voice," AM, pp. 21-30; "Place of Articulation," AM, pp. 33-46; "Manner of Articulation," AM, pp. 51-63; CBG, "The Consonant System," pp. 50-112; "Phonetics: The Sounds of American English".

English Vowels

Feb. 21: "Vowels," AM, pp. 69-83; CBG, "The Vowel System," pp. 113-162.

Consonants and Vowels in the Languages of the World

Feb. 28: "Airstream Mechanisms," AM, pp. 103-114;UCLA Phonetics Lab, "Index of Sounds from Many Languages"; "Phonemic Inventories across Languages"; "Phonetic Clues Hint Language is Africa Born"

March 7: Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, downloads of audio files for languages described in the handbook. We will listen to some of these sounds in the next class, and cover the sound systems of a variety of different languages; Clicks in Xhosa; phonetic transcription exercise due.

Phonological Processes

March 14: "Basic Phonological Concepts," AM, pp. 135-148;  Davidson, "Phonetic and Phonological Factors in the Second Language Production of Phonemes and Phonotactics" (on e-reserve); Wolfram and Johnson, "Phonology and Second Language Acquisition" (on e-reserve)

March 21: No Class (Spring Break)

Acoustic Phonetics

March 28: Ladefoged, "Acoustic Phonetics" (on e-reserve);  Hagiwara, "Monthly Mystery Spectrogram Webzone"; we will be doing acoustical analyses in class with a program called Speech Analyzer (note: works only on Windows computers; if you have a Macintosh computer, try Praat, a comparable but much more complex program). 

Intonation: Word Stress, Sentence Stress, and Relationship to Grammar

April 4: "Suprasegmentals, AM, pp. 153-172; CBG, "Connected Speech, Stress, and Rhythm" pp. 163-220, and "Prominence and Intonation in Discourse," pp. 221-272; Exercises for Teaching English Pronunciation; Celik, "Teaching English Intonation to EFL/ESL Students"

Speaking and Listening

April 11: CBG, "Pronunciation and Listening," pp. 366-393, and "The Sound System and Morphology," pp. 394-418; "Speaker and Hearer," AM, pp. 177-187; AT&T Labs, AT&T Natural Voices Demo; Exam due.

English Dialects

April 18In-class viewing of "American Tongues"; Laferriere, "Ethnicity in Phonological Variation and Change" (on e-reserve); Irwin and Nagy, "Bostonians /r/ Speaking: A Quantitative Look at (R) in Boston"; "Linguistic Geography of the Mainland United States"; "Linguistic Profiling: The Sound of Your Voice may Determine if You Get that Apartment or not"; "Linguistic Profiling" [categories explained here]

Speech and Writing

April 25: Biber, "Textual Dimensions and Relations" (on e-reserve); Crystal and Davy, "The Language of Conversation" (on e-reserve); and CBG, "The Sound System and Spelling," pp. 419-447; prosodic transcription exercise due.

Teaching Pronunciation

May 2 and 9: CBG, "Pronunciation in the Language Curriculum," pp. 274-307; "Testing and Evaluation," pp. 308-334; and "Techniques, Tools, and Technology," pp. 335-364;  "The Speech Accent Archive"; Heather Carreiro, "Free ESL Resources: Teaching and Learning English Pronunciation"; Chun, "Computer-Assisted Pronunciation Testing" (on e-reserve); paper due on May 15.


This is an ambitious syllabus. If we fall behind, some of the later topics may not be discussed in as much detail as the earlier topics.