UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences

Summer Course in English Phonetics 2009


The lectures will be shared by both strands and will cover the following topics:

The sounds of English
  • Transcription; the vowels and consonants of English
  • L1 interference and negative transfer
  • How can learners improve their English speech?

Vowels and consonants
  • Long and short vowels; diphthongs
  • Vowel duration: clipping
  • Voicing and aspiration: timing and the vocal folds
  • Consonants, contrasts, clusters: problems with consonants and syllable structure
  • Processes of assimilation, coalescence, and elision
  • Weakening: weak forms and other reductions
  • Syllabic consonants, compression, varisyllabicity

  • Is English stress isochronous?
  • Word stress and suffixes: stress effects of word endings
  • Stress shift, compounds, phrases; double-stressed words, early stress, late stress

  • The framework for intonation
  • Placing the nucleus (tonic); de-accenting
  • Tones and tails: rises and falls on and after the nucleus
  • Prenuclear patterns: rises and falls before the nucleus
  • Intonation and social interaction
  • Questions and answers: using intonation to structure a conversation

Contrastive phonetics
  • Phonetic differences between Spanish and English
  • Phonetic differences between Japanese and English

Special topics
  • Cockney and Estuary English: the regional accent of London and the southeast
  • New ideas in phonology: rethinking some traditional ideas on syllable structure
  • Viewing and measuring speech: spectrograms, fundamental frequency, formants
  • Exotic sounds: including pharyngeals, flaps, ejectives, clicks and many more