|After this course:
- You can explain what the field of phonology aims to achieve, and how it relates to the other fields of linguistics, such as phonetics, morphology, and psycholinguistics
- You can explain its main theories, terminology, and ways of working
- You can describe the elements that languages use to express meaning, including phonemes, tones, and stress, and explain how these are systematically structured
- You can analyze how phonological processes determine the way in which those elements are expressed in a certain context
There are about 7,000 languages in the world today. Almost certainly, no two of them have the same sounds structure: they vary widely in the number of consonants and vowels they have, in their use of tonal contrasts, in their stress patterns, in the shape of their syllables, and so on. At the same time, all these languages show striking similarities in the way they structure their sound systems. Phonology is a thriving field of linguistic research that strives to understand the structure behind these systems. How do these similarities arise? And why, at the same time, is there so much variation? How is our knowledge of the pronunciation of our language represented in our brain? How can we describe the pronunciation of a language? What do people do when they play language games? Why do loanwords often sound so totally different from the way they are pronounced in the donor languages? These and many other questions are dealt with in this course.