English Phonetics and Phonology

Course tutors: Assoc. Prof. Dr. S. Dimitrova, V. Filipov
Teaching: lectures – 30, seminars – 30
ECTS credits: 5

The course in English phonetics and phonology is introductory. Building on the students’ Practical English Phonetics knowledge and skills acquired in year 1, it presents a description of modern English pronunciation (RP, GA, SSE, other major native varieties). A comparative – contrastive approach is adopted throughout the course. Central issues are: the articulatory and acoustic aspects of speech production and perception, the vocalic and consonantal systems of English and Bulgarian, phonology of the syllable, the word and the utterance, intra-lingual and inter-lingual transcription, connected speech processes, rhythm and intonation, a brief presentation of alternative phonological theories.

By the end of the course students are expected to:
• Know the basics of sound description and classification, and be able to describe and classify the English vowels and consonants;
• Discuss major systemic and allophonic differences between contemporary standard English accents;
• Compare and contrast the phonological systems of standard English and Bulgarian;
• Render English names in Bulgarian and motivate their renditions;
• Understand the principles of syllabification in English and Bulgarian and be able to apply them to polysyllabic words;
• Discuss and illustrate major principles of lexical and phrasal stress placement in English;
• Explain processes typical of connected speech (assimilation, elision, liaison, reduction, insertion, etc.) and predict their occurrence in English;
• Transcribe phonemically and intonationally spoken/written texts in a standard English accent (RP or GA).

The final grade is based on: (i) continuous assessment (seminar attendance and participation in class and online discussions, home assignments, in-class quizzes, a mid-term test) – 1/3 of the final grade; (ii) a final exam – 2/3 of the final grade.

1 Spoken language as the subject matter of scientific study. Phonetics and phonology.
2 The anatomy and physiology of speech production. Articulatory phonetics.
3 The phonetic description and classification of consonants.
4. The phonetic description and classification of vowels. The Cardinal Vowel system of D. Jones.
5. The phonological organization of speech: phonemes, allophones, distinctive features.
6. The vowel phonemes of English and Bulgarian.
7. The consonant phonemes of English and Bulgarian.
8. IPA symbols, phonetic and phonemic transcription.
9. Principles of Bulgarian transcription of English names and English transliteration of Bulgarian names.
10. The syllable as a phonetic and phonological unit. Syllable structure and phonotactics. Syllabification of English polysyllabic words.
11. Phonology of the word. Lexical stress: nature, position, degrees. Stress beyond the single word.
12. The phonology of rhythm in English.
13. The phonetics and phonology of English connected speech.
14. The forms and the main functions of English intonation.
15. Major native varieties of spoken English.
Cruttenden, A. (2014) Gimson’s Pronunciation of English. 8th edn., Hodder Education. (7th edn. 2008)
Danchev, A. (1987) “A theoretical model for the cross-language rendition of names”, in: University of Sofia English Papers III. pp. 42-55, Sofia: St Kliment Ohridski University Press.
Dimitrova, S. (2003) English Pronunciation for Bulgarians. Vezni – 4.
Giegerich, H. (1992) English Phonology. An Introduction, Cambridge University Press.

Collins, B. and I.M. Mees (2008) Practical Phonetics and Phonology. A Resource Book for Students. 2nd edn., Routledge. (3rd edn. 2013)
Cruttended, A. (1997) Intonation. 2nd edn., Cambridge University Press.
Danchev, A., M. Holman, E. Dimova, M. Savova (1989) An English Dictionary of Bulgarian Names: Spelling and Pronunciation. Naouka i Izkoustvo.
Данчев, А. (1995) Българска транскрипция на английски имена. 3-то изд., София: Отворено общество.
Handbook of the International Phonetic Association (1999), Cambridge University Press.
Тилков, Д., Т. Бояджиев (1990) Българска фонетика, 3-то изд., София.
Wells, J.C. (1982) Accents of English, 3 vols., CUP
Wells, J.C. (2008) Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 3rd edn., Pearson Longman.
Zsiga, E. (2013) The Sounds of Language. An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology. Wiley-Blackwell.

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