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 2021-2022. Please note that changes may occur.
Semester tution start
Number of semesters
Language of instruction
Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Cultural Studies and Languages
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
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
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.
Required prerequisite knowledge
The course presupposes a solid command of written and spoken English.
Midterm exam and oral exam
Form of assessment
A - F
A - F
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.
Submission of three short home assignments, Attendance at a minimum of five group seminars
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.
Oliver Martin Traxel
Nancy Marie Wood
Anne Marie Nygaard
Method of work
A combination of lectures and group work at seminars. Independent work on exercises.
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.
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