Upcoming courses

Phonology (ENGL 5339)

Cross-listed with LING 5383-001 and CMLL 5301-002

T/Th 3:30pm–4:50pm

Why is "blick" a possible word of English, but not "bnick"?  Why do foreign accents persist even after years of language learning?

Speech sounds are perhaps the most basic building blocks of spoken language, but how do they work?  This course provides an overview of the field of phonology—how languages organize, represent, and manipulate their sounds.

We will begin by discussing the sounds of the world’s languages and their articulatory, acoustic, and distributional properties.  We will examine why some sounds are allowed in certain parts of a word but not others, and how sounds change based on their surroundings.

Both linguists and non-linguists are encouraged to join this course. Knowledge of sound patterns has important applications across disciplines, including foreign language teaching, literature, creative writing and poetry, and technical communication.  If you have ever wondered how the sounds of language work—or how to manipulate them for various effects—this course will be of interest to you.

What have previous students said about the course?

  • “This was one of my favorite classes ever. Dr. Braver is very knowledgeable and friendly and funny.” 
  • "[T]he way Dr. Braver taught [the course]—guiding the whole way— made it not only challenging and rewarding, but accessible as well.”
  • "Dr. Braver is one of the professors who challenged my mind, which I like about his teaching philosophy."
  • "[Dr. Braver] was cautiously optimistic... that we would find this material useful in the greater scheme of our academic lives, and I think, without a doubt, he has succeeded."