English Phonetics and Phonology (ENG195)

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.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


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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.

Learning outcome


The student will gain knowledge of

  • the English sound system
  • the processes of English connected 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 English connected 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

Required prerequisite knowledge


Recommended prerequisites

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


Midterm exam and oral exam

Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Midterm exam 1/3 4 Hours Letter grades None permitted
Oral exam 2/3 30 Minutes Letter grades None permitted

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

Attendance at a minimum of five group seminars, Submission of three short home assignments

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. In addition, they must have attended at least five group seminars.

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

Study Adviser:

Anne Marie Nygaard

Study Adviser:

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 for

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

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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