Focus area Phonology


The phonology modules (LING-CORE-PHO / LING-INTER-PHO) will familiarize students with current ideas and theories of phonology and its interdependence/interplay with other areas/dimensions of language structure, language use, and meaning. The focus in phonology lies on prosody, yet classical topics from segmental phonology are discussed as well. Students will work with empirical data from a variety of languages gathered in fieldwork or in the phonology lab. They will receive rigorous training in both formal and empirical methods in order to understand and test theoretical claims made in this field of research. After the module is completed, students will be able to explain systematic differences based on phonological principles, have a better understanding of the role phonology plays in the human grammar architecture, and will be in a position to conduct independent research related to phonology.

The colloquia (LING-COLL-PHO) provide a forum for the discussion of current topics in phonology based on the discussion of recent papers or talks by invited guests. Students have the opportunity to present their own work in progress.

Exemplary course announcements

Intonational Phonology

This seminar gives an overview of the core ideas of intonational phonology. We will discuss prosodic structure, the phonetics and phonology of intonation contours, pitch accent assignment as well as the interfaces to syntax and semantics. Students will work with empirical data to analyse intonation patterns of different languages.

Phonology of Tone

This seminar discusses the Phonology of Tone from different perspectives. Tone has been ever since a key issue in phonology. However, tone is somewhat different from classical segmental phonology, yet tone shows similar behaviour in many respects. Topics of this class include the nature of tone, classical issues of phonological contrast, phonetics of tone, and tonal effects of spreading, tone sandhi, morpho-phonology of tone, its grammatical function, and of course theories of phonology to deal with tone like Autosegmental Theory, Metrical Theory and Optimality Theory. Modelling tone and tonal effects, we also discuss classical derivational phonological theory.

Syntax-Phonology Interface

This seminar is designed to address issues that concern the interface between prosody and syntax. Various theories on the prosody-syntax interface will be evaluated and their implications will be discussed. Students will work with empirical materials from various languages to apply the data to the predictions of the syntax-phonology interface.