BSc Speech and Language Therapy / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics

Course unit fact file
Unit code PCHN20100
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit runs across the second year of study. It will build on understanding of typical phonetics, linguistics, and language development introduced in year one and apply that knowledge to clinical data from children and adults from monolingual and bilingual backgrounds.


The unit aims to:

  • Provide students with opportunities to develop skills in describing and accurately transcribing clinical speech data using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and Extended IPA.
  • Provide students with opportunities to develop their ability to analyse, describe and evaluate clinical language data.
  • Demonstrate to students the relevance of clinical phonetics and clinical linguistics to their future professional practice.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Use appropriate terminology to describe phonetic, semantic, pragmatic and grammatical aspects of language in people with communication difficulties.
  • Identify the relevant aspects of speech and language to analyse, and will be familiar with currently available analysis techniques.
  • Apply their knowledge and understanding of the literature to clinical data and understand the potential contribution of clinical phonetics and clinical linguistics to their professional role.

Intellectual skills

  • Interpret and critically appraise original clinical phonetics and clinical linguistics literature.
  • Integrate information from research literature and data analyses to come to principled clinical conclusions.
  • Critically evaluate the content of published language assessments and interpret them in relation to clinical practice.

Practical skills

  • Use the library to access original research papers.
  • Make an accurate phonetic transcriptions of service users with different developmental Speech Sound Disorders, including Articulation Disorder, Phonological Delay, Consistent Phonological Disorder and Inconsistent Phonological Disorder.
  • Analyse grammatical aspects of spoken or written language.
  • Familiarise themselves with, understand, and interpret the scoring of published language assessments.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Independently gather, sift, synthesise and organise material from published literature and data analyses.
  • Evaluate and integrate evidence from a variety of sources to come to a considered clinical description commensurate with their level of professional experience.
  • Report clinical data and the results of their analyses clearly and accurately, adapting as appropriate for their target audience.

Assessment methods

  1. Online quizzes (formative)
  2. Group data analysis and report (formative)
  3. Clinical phonetic transcription examination* (1 hour, 70%)
  4. Clinical linguistics written assignment (30%)

*NB: A pass mark must be achieved in the clinical phonetic transcription examination as a requirement for the awarding of course unit credits. No compensable fail mark will be available for the clinical phonetic transcription examination.

Feedback methods

A mark and individual, detailed tutor written feedback will be provided following the clinical phonetic transcription examination and clinical linguistics assignment. This feedback will provide guidance to students regarding their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter as it relates to future course units, and on their phonetic transcription and formal written communication skills for future assessments.

Students will receive peer conducted reliability checks on in class phonetic transcription and anonymous peer written feedback on their presentations. This feedback will provide guidance to students on their phonetic transcription and presentational skills for their summative examination and for future assessments.

Throughout the unit, students will have the opportunity to self-evaluate their work, skills and understanding against online model answers to weekly quizzes, their peers’ work, peer group discussions and tutor comments.

Recommended reading

Ball, M., Perkins, M., Muller, N., & Howard, S. (2009). The Handbook of Clinical Linguistics. Wiley

Child Speech Network (2017). Good Practice Guidelines for transcription of children's speech samples in Clinical Practice and Research. London: Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

Tench, P. (2011). Transcribing the sound of English: a phonetics workbook for words and discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 39
Seminars 9
Independent study hours
Independent study 152

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sean Pert Unit coordinator

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