LING 045 — Fall 2016
Phonetics and Phonology

Professor:Jonathan North Washington
Office:Pearson 105
Office phone:x6134
Office hours:M 3:45-5:15pm, T 1:15-2:45pm, by appointment
Email: jwashin1@swarth...
Lecture Time:TTh 11:20am-12:35pm
Classroom:Lang Center 112
Course website:
Course moodle site: F16 - LING045.01


This course is designed to give you an understanding of the main concepts in the fields of Phonetics and Phonology and impart the skills needed to solve the types of problems encountered in these fields. Here's the official description:

Phonetics explores the full range of sounds produced by humans for use in language and the gestural, acoustic, and auditory properties that characterize those sounds. Phonology investigates the abstract cognitive system humans use for representing, organizing, and combining the sounds of language as well as processes by which sounds can change into other sounds. This course covers a wide spectrum of data from languages around the world and focuses on developing analyses to account for the data. Argumentation skills are also developed to help determine the underlying cognitive mechanisms that are needed to support proposed analyses.

Required Materials

The following textbooks are required, and are available from the bookstore.

For the most part, we will be using the Phonetics book up through the midterm, and the Phonology book afterwards. Classroom discussion will often deal with content from the books, so please bring the book we are currently working with to class every day.

Also, you'll need to be able to access Moodle ( This is where you'll take reading quizzes, submit assignments, and view your grades for the course, so make sure you can access it as soon as possible. If you have any trouble with it, let me know as soon as possible.

The course website (listed above, and linked to from the Moodle course) contains a constantly updated schedule for the semester. While each reading quiz on Moodle will list the required readings for that quiz, other information might be found only on the course website (such as resources discussed in class, the course structure and our progress in it, the presentation schedule, etc.). It's recommended to check the website at least a couple times per a week. I will make announcements about any major changes.

Office Hours

I hold regular office hours (listed above), and can be available at other times by appointment—just send me an e-mail letting me know when you might prefer to meet.

If you are having any trouble with class, such as with understanding a concept or completing an assignment, please don't hesitate to ask me for help. I'm here to help you learn, so I encourage you to take advantage of my availability.


Classroom etiquette

Show up on time and silence cell phones. You may eat and drink as long as it doesn't disturb other students and the lecturer. If you need to step out of the class for any reason (bathroom, emergency phone call, etc.), please do so with minimum disruption (i.e., don't ask for permission).

If you use a computer, tablet, or other electronic device for taking notes (etc.), please use it only for relevant classroom activities. In other words, please refrain from any sort of non-class-related activities, including messaging (e-mail, social media, etc.), homework for other courses, or even planning for next week's presentation. Even the best multitaskers are still not participating fully when they're engaging in unrelated endeavours. If it's too difficult to avoid the temptation of these other distractions, you may try strategies like turning off the device's wifi, or simply taking notes on paper.

Note on pronouns: if you'd like to be referred to by a pronoun that you think I might not guess correctly or if you notice me referring to you by some other pronoun than what you'd prefer, please let me know so that I can get it right.

Class material

All material covered during course-related activities—including assigned readings, quizzes, and homeworks—should be assumed to be required course content, and may be included in exams. It is each student's responsibility to attend all classes to learn the material covered. If you must miss a class, it is courteous to notify your professor ahead of time if at all possible, but it will be your responsibility to learn about missed material from classmates. It is not my responsibility to make up for your absence or re-teach the material. (That said, let me know if you're having trouble making something up.) With so few class meetings, missing one day can be a very big deal—so I really recommend trying not to miss class.

The assigned readings are to be read in advance of the class dates they're assigned for, and the online quizzes will test your understanding of the content. The readings complement in-class activities and provide the necessary background; however, you should not assume that they will be fully summarized or reviewed in class. Students should be prepared to evaluate, integrate, or respond to the readings in class discussions.

Turning in assignments on time

Reading quizzes are to be completed online by the beginning of the class they are due for, and Moodle will enforce this by deactivating the quiz then. If for some reason you won't be able to take an assigned quiz, please let me know ahead of time so an alternative can be arranged; however, because you will usually have at least a couple days to complete these quizzes and may do so at your convenience, you will have to have a pretty good excuse to be granted an alternative to a quiz.

Homework assignments are to be completed online by the beginning of they class they are due in, and Moodle will enforce this by deactivating submissions then. If you anticipate a problem getting the homework in on time, please let me know ahead of time so that an alternative can be arranged; however, because you will usually have several days to complete these assignments and may do so at your convenience, you will have to have a pretty good excuse to be granted an alternative to an assignment. If you are having a problem submitting the assignment online (such as ensuring that the symbols are displaying correctly), feel free to upload the assignment in PDF format instead (the deadline remains the same), or hand it to me typed at the beginning of class.

Any excuse for missing any course-related activities will need to be handled by your class dean. Please see the Medical Excuse Policy (, and remember to contact your class dean as soon as you can so that they can work with you.

Academic Integrity

You are always expected to do your own work on assignments. On the other hand, for completing homework assignments, you are allowed to collaborate with other students and use the internet as a resource (as long as you avoid resources that present answers or solutions outright). You may also consult other sources when preparing presentations. However, please cite any sources you use or other students you worked with on both homeworks and presentations. In the end, you must always do your own work—this means that you must state things in your own words and show that you understand any ideas that you got from another source.

Using words or ideas from another source without attribution constitutes plagiarism, and misrepresenting another student's work as your own (or allowing another student to misrepresent your work as their own) is cheating. Please see the student handbook for the College's policies on academic misconduct ( Suspected cases of academic misconduct will be pursued to the full extent of College policy, including referral to the College Judicial Committee.

So please just be honest. And if you have any questions about what's considered acceptable, ask me first.

Course Grade Components

The grade in this course is broken down into the following components. Each component is expounded upon following the table.
Reading quizzes:25%
Final project:20%
Exams (2):15%

Homeworks (30%)

There will be a number of homeworks assigned throughout the semester. These assignments will appear on Moodle at the end of the class meeting that they're assigned, and must be completed by the beginning of the class that they're due. If problems are encountered submitting the assignment online (such as ensuring that the symbols are being displayed correctly), it may be uploaded to Moodle in PDF format or delivered to me typed at the beginning of class.

You may collaborate on the problem solving portions of homeworks, but you must write up your own responses, unique from other students'. I suggest you only take notes when working with friends and then write up your responses alone, in your own words. Work identical to another student's, even partially, will be investigated for plagiarism.

No make-up or extra credit assignments will be given, and if you miss class, it is still your responsibility to make sure you understand the requirements of the assignment. Please talk with the instructor if you think you will miss a class.

Reading quizzes (25%)

One reading quiz will be assigned for almost every assigned reading—i.e., approximately twice per week. Each of these quizzes will cover material from the assigned reading. They are meant to test your understanding of the reading and provide you with materials from which to study. The quizzes will be accessible on Moodle and are to be completed outside of class by the beginning of class the day the reading is due; they will be deactivated automatically as class starts. You can take each quiz as many times as you want, and your highest score will be recorded; however, you will not be shown which answers you got wrong. There will be no make-ups for quizzes without a valid excuse (see late assignment policy above).

Final project (20%)

For the final project, you will work with a native speaker of a spoken language other than English that you're not yet familiar with to discover their phoneme inventory. More details will follow, but expect to work on this throughout the semester, with several intermediate steps towards the final project.

Exams (15%)

There will be two exams: a mid-term exam involving the material covered up to that point in the course, and a cumulative final exam covering topics starting from the first day of class. No early or make-up exams will be given except in extreme circumstances. The time of the final exam will be posted later in the semester.

Participation (10%)

I do not grade on attendance, but you will be graded on participation, and this requires attendance. Beyond simply showing up and participating, you're encouraged to contribute to discussions by asking questions, answering questions, making relevant comments, etc. You will not be ridiculed for asking even simple questions—I want to make sure everyone grasps the concepts, and many are not as straightforward as they may first seem. Also, please bring your textbook to class, even though we won't always use it. You are encouraged to engage in relevant discussion via the General Discussion forum on Moodle as well.


If you believe you need accommodations for a disability or a chronic medical condition, please contact Student Disability Services (Parrish 113W, 123W) via e-mail at to arrange an appointment to discuss your needs. As appropriate, the office will issue students with documented disabilities or medical conditions a formal Accommodations Letter. Since accommodations require early planning and are not retroactive, please contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible. For details about the accommodations process, visit the Student Disability Services website at You are also welcome to contact me privately to discuss your academic needs. However, all disability-related accommodations must be arranged, in advance, through Student Disability Services.