BSc Speech and Language Therapy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Linguistics, Phonetics and Language Development B

Course unit fact file
Unit code PCHN10222
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit runs over 12 weeks in the second semester of the first year of study and follows a unit introducing a foundation in linguistics, phonetics and typical language development. Students will discover structural and functional properties of English by learning to identify and describe the sound system and early lexical, morphological, and syntactic features. Building on semester 1, the focus will be on a sentence level analysis and description and language development beyond single word utterances.


The unit aims to:

  • Build on knowledge introduced in Linguistics, Phonetics and Language Development A and to further develop students’ understanding of linguistics and language development.
  • Provide students with opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of speech and language on a sentence level, of typical language development and interaction, and of the different areas of linguistics. 
  • Provide students with further opportunities to gain practical skills in phonetic transcription and linguistic (particularly grammatical) analysis, with the aim of being able to apply such knowledge to the communication of child and adult clients with communication difficulties.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe milestones of typical language development using relevant linguistic terminology.
  • Describe different theoretical approaches to the study of language development.
  • Identify the unique characteristics which define language and set it apart from other communication systems placing language in its social and cultural context, including: -understanding of bilingual language development, understanding the differences for individuals whose home language is not English, understanding the centrality of home language to personhood, family and community. 
  • Describe and illustrate:the production and perception of sounds found in human languages (including acoustic phonetics), syntactic categories and constituents in complex English sentences and sentence level prosody.
  • Appreciate the professional importance of accuracy in transcribing, analysing and describing speech and language.

Intellectual skills

  • Synthesize selected evidence from the appropriate directed reading.
  • Develop an appreciation of the scientific approach to the study of language.
  • Develop their understanding of information provided in lectures through relevant, independent reading.
  • Start making connections between their knowledge of typical development and their expectation of features of atypical development of communication. 
  • Apply linguistic knowledge acquired to real developmental data.

Practical skills

  • Transcribe more complex linguistic and phonetic data. 
  • Analyse and describe phonemic, morphological and syntactic features of linguistic systems.
  • Use databases to find peer-reviewed journal articles.
  • Understand the structure and layout of an academic journal article and referencing conventions.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Develop ability to write clearly and concisely and using appropriate terminology.
  • Utilise library and electronic resources to support and extend learning.

Teaching and learning methods

Learning and teaching processes will utilise tutor-led lectures, tutorials, practical data analysis workshops, online quizzes and online discussion via the Blackboard online learning environment.

To support independent study, learning materials including teaching slides, recommended reading and preparatory tasks will be provided in advance of teaching sessions on the unit’s online Blackboard learning environment.

Assessment methods

  1. Written assignment: a series of short questions (30%)
  2. Multiple choice examination (1 hour, 70%)

Feedback methods

An individual mark and whole-group feedback will be provided following the assignment.  

Throughout the unit, students will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their work, skills and understanding against online model answers to quizzes, and class and peer group discussions. In addition, tutorials will provide feedback on practical opportunities to practice accuracy of sound identification and production, and the analysis of linguistic data.

Recommended reading

Cruz-Ferreira, M., & Abraham, S. A. (2011). The language of language: A linguistics course for starters. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Knight, R. A. (2012). Phonetics: A coursebook. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hoff, E. (2014). Language Development (5th ed.). Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 14
Independent study hours
Independent study 164

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ceri Ellis Unit coordinator

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