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Unit of study_

LNGS3612: Dynamics of Sound

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

Language is a dynamic system, under constant pressures and continually evolving. Sounds and sound systems of human languages are incredibly diverse yet at the same time there are identifiable principles or factors that seem to constrain the diversity found in the phonetic and phonological systems of language. This unit examines sound systems in language, from a holistic point of view, looking at phonetic and phonological properties of sounds. Techniques are introduced to help analyse linguistic sound systems in terms of synchronic patterns and also their diachronic development.

Unit details and rules

Unit code LNGS3612
Academic unit Linguistics
Credit points 6
(LNGS2601 and LNGS2624) or 12 credit points at 2000 level in Linguistics
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Gwendolyn Hyslop,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Final Paper
Final paper
35% -
Due date: 12 Nov 2022 at 23:00
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment assignment 1: Praat
This assignment will require you to use Praat.
16% Week 03
Due date: 19 Aug 2022 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Dissertation Final Paper Title
Submit tentative final paper title on Canvas
2.5% Week 05
Due date: 02 Sep 2022 at 23:00
Title for final paper
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5
Assignment assignment 2: Reconstruction
This assignment will require you to use the comparative method.
17% Week 07
Due date: 16 Sep 2022 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3
Assignment Final paper outline
This outline of your final paper constitutes 10% of the final paper grade.
5% Week 08
Due date: 23 Sep 2022 at 23:00
This is one page outline.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5
Assignment Annotated bibliography
Annotated bibliography for final paper
5% Week 10
Due date: 14 Oct 2022 at 23:00
At least 5-10 references with annotation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5
Assignment assignment 3: Perception experiment
This assignment will require you to design and run a perception experiment.
17% Week 12
Due date: 28 Oct 2022 at 23:00
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4
Online task Presentation
Required presentation of final paper
2.5% Week 13
Due date: 31 Oct 2022 at 10:00
~ 5 min presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5

Assessment summary

As discussed in class

Assessment criteria

This is the final paper itself.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

As required by university

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Week 1: Introduction to Unit and Praat practice Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 02 Week 2: The comparative method Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 3: Sound in language as a system Seminar (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 4: Efficiency (1) Seminar (2 hr) LO2
Week 05 Week 5: Efficiency (2) Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 06 Week 6: Perception Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Week 7: Frequency effects Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Week 8: Iconicity Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Week 9: Sociophonetics Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Week 10: Sociolinguistic typology Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Week 11: Environment Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 12 Week 12: In-class debate on the motivators of sound change Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 13 Week 13: Student presentations Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

As discussed in class.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. an advanced knowledge and appreciation of the diversity and unity of sound systems in human language
  • LO2. an understanding of what constrains the possible variation and change that happens within language and over time
  • LO3. he ability to identify and characterize sound change, and to propose and test hypotheses as to how a phonological system might have formed
  • LO4. advanced knowledge and understanding of the disciplines of Phonetics and Phonology
  • LO5. the ability to reflect critically on different approaches to the study of sound in human language

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


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