Phonology (undergraduate)

Jongho Jun

Linguistics, Seoul National University

Fall 2017

Class hours: Tu, TR 9:30-10:45 (classroom: 14-208)

Course information

Group project

- Investigate the phonology of an exotic language.

- By exotic I mean that no courses on that language are offered at SNU and its relatively less studied.

(1) What to do:

- Choose a language.

- Try to find a single book or paper about it with the titles like the following:

Ponapean reference grammar

A grammar of Diola-Fogny

An introduction to the Yoruba language

Phonology of the Navaho language

(N.B. You may use the inter-library loan service.)


- Focus on a single book/paper unless it is too short (say, less than 20 pages).

- The chosen book/paper must be written in English.

- Learn and find out the phonological characteristicsof your chosen language by reading the chapters on the phonology (& phonetics & morphology) in the book/paper.

- (Optional) In order to confirm what you have found out, you may conduct an interview with a native speaker of that language if you can find one.

- Report the following (in the in-class presentation and paper):

(i) an overview of the phonology of the chosen language

(ii) interesting facts, focusing on how its phonology is different from that of much studied languages like English (and your native language).

(You are supposed to use terms and formats discussed in class and the text.)

(2) Paper

- Each group should submit a collective paper.

- (Suggested) Length: 3-5 pages.

- Submit both hard and electronic copies.

Email the electronic copy (in pdf) to

Format of file name: Your names followed by the language name

e.g. е--̸_Ponapean

- Grading: S/U (Extra credits may be given to those who conducted an excellent project.)

(3) Schedule

9/28 (TR): Find your teammates by then. (If you fail, Ill help you.)

10/12 (TR): Submit a single (A4 size) paper with the following information.

(i) Names of your group members,

(ii) The language you chose,

(iii) A brief explanation of why you chose it, and

(iv) The basic information of the book/paper that you take for this group project: the title, author, publication year, page length of crucial chapters etc.

TBA (tentative: 11/7 – 11/9): Presentation using a handout (and/or ppt).

TBA (tentative: 11/14 (Tu)): Paper due

The TBA dates will be set after the number of teams is determined.

Final term paper

(1) What to do:

a. Choose topic

(i) Standard: a phonological phenomenon in a certain language/dialect (e.g. English Tapping, Maasai spirantization, Liquid nasalization in Seoul Korean)

      - Phenomena that involve alternations

(ii) Any other topic would be O.K. if it is related to phonology: e.g. phonotactics of native Korean names.

b. Find a consultant who is a native speaker of the language/dialect you are interested in.

c. Find references (preferably recent ones).

d. Collect the data while checking the reported facts with your own consultant.

- In addition, new lexical strata or environments may be examined: e.g. different dialects, young (or old) generations speech, loanwords, second language productions and made-up words.

- Caveat: Remember that it is usually difficult for you to hear the phonetic distinctions that are not phonemic in your native language.

e. Provide an analysis for the data, based on what you have learned in class.

- The term paper project may be considered as a special type of data analysis homework that requires you to analyze the data collected by yourself, instead of the data given by me or in the book.

- You are supposed to provide phonological rules (or constraints) to explain your data.

f. Provide conclusions: comparison with previous studies and remaining problems.

(You may adapt this procedure to your particular project.)

(2) Paper

(Suggested) Length: 4~7 pages.

Submit both hard and electronic copies.

ü  Email the electronic copy (in pdf) to

ü  Format of file name: Your name followed by a short description of the topic

ü  e.g. е_Korean assimilation

Sample term papers



(3) Schedule

Select topic and meet with (or e-mail) me by Nov 1 (Wed).

Submit a one-page progress report by Nov 23.

Paper Presentation: Dec 5, 7, 12

Paper Due: Final exam day

Useful links

Feature-learning program

Phonetic fonts  

IPA symbol chart

Speech analysis program