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Ling 501 Seminar in Phonology

Contact Information

  • Tineke Scholten, PhD.
  • Linguistics Program: Office of Interdisciplinary Studies: JR 253
  • christina.m.scholten@csun.edu
  • Office Phone: 677-7839
  • Office Hours: Mo, We 1:15-1:45, Th 3:45 - 4:15 and by appointment
  • Office Location: Santa Susana Hall (FOB) 328

Instructional Materials

Hayes, Bruce (2009) Introductory Phonology Wiley-Blackwell: Malden.

Kager, Rene (1999) Optimality Theory Cambridge University Press: Cambridge

Gussenhoven, Carlos and Haike Jacobs (1998) Understanding Phonology Arnold Publishing Group: London (optional)

Important Notices



Class Accommodations

Students with disabilities must register with the Center on Disabilities and complete a services agreement each semester. Staff within the Center will verify the existence of a disability based on the documentation provided and approve accommodations. Students who are approved for testing taking accommodations must provide a proctor form to their faculty member signed by a counselor in the Center on Disabilities prior to making testing arrangements. The Center on Disabilities is located in Bayramian Hall, room 110. Staff can be reached at (818) 677-2684.

  1. Center On Disabilities
  2. National Center On Deafness

Course Information Overview

Course Prerequisites

This class builds on the knowledge that attained in Ling 402 or a comparable course.

Student Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete this course will:

  1. be familiar with similarities between the sound systems of natural languages and the extent to which there is variation, most notably in the areas of allophonic variation, neutralization and syllable structure;

  2. have a basic understanding of some landmark theoretical proposals from the framework of Generative Phonology that intend to account for these phenomena;

  3. have a basic understanding of the process of theory formation and evaluation in theoretical linguistics in general and more specifically in the area of Generative Phonology;

  4. show introductory level proficiency in analyzing phonological data and evaluating potential consequences for specific phonological theories;

  5. understand how Generative Phonology intends to explain the ability of children to acquire the sound system of their native language;

  6. be able to identify effects of native phonology on the pronunciation of loan words and non-native languages;

  7. be able to understand scholarly work in Applied Linguistics where it draws from advances in Theoretical Phonology.


Your grade will be determined based on your reports (20%) your final paper (20%), your class participation (10%), presentation (5%) and homework assignments (20%) and on the final exam (25%).

A = 92-100, A- = 90-91, B+ = 87-89, B = 82-86, B- = 80-81, C+ = 77-79, C = 72-76, C- = 70-71, D+ =67-69, D = 62-66, D-= 60-61, <60 = F


  1. Weekly homework assignments will involve problem sets and/or short essay questions that relate to concepts introduced in class or in your reading. Any homework assignment that involves a substantial amount of prose must be typed. All homework must be carefully worded and presented in a clear and neat format.
  2. Reports: You will be expected to apply your knowledge of the more accessible phonological terminology that is discussed to a language of your choosing (any language besides English). You will work on this language throughout the course and report on your findings in approximately 3-4 reports that address a particular phonological aspect of your project language. Written prompts for the content of these reports will be provided.
  3. Presentation: You will present (some of) your findings in a class presentation towards the end of the semester.
  4. Term Paper: You will construct an approximately 10-12 page term paper. This paper may be derived from any or all of the reports mentioned under 2.