English Language Practical Phonetics & Phonology Multimedia Course

This Multimedia Course will introduce you to the fascinating study of Practical Phonetics and Phonology of the English Language.

Phonetics is the study of spoken sounds and it focuses on the way in which sounds are produced.

Phonology focuses on sounds in a particular language, on the ways in which sounds are combined to produce meaning. Its focus is on the function of sounds, intonation, stress and rhythm.

The course is based on the type of English pronunciation which is known as 'Received Pronunciation' (RP). Received Pro­nunciation is an ideal. It seems to stand above all kinds of English pronunciation within or without Great Britain. It is easily understood throughout the English-speaking world.

This Multimedia Course is meant for the 1st-year students of the faculty of Linguistics (2nd semester).

The goal of this course is to help students of linguistics acquire and develop their phonological competence.

Phonological competence implies knowledge and skills to perceive and produce:

  1. phonemes and allophones;
  2. articulatory and acoustic characteristics of phonemes (for example, sonance, nasalization, labialization);
  3. phonetic arrangement of words (syllabic structure, sequence of phonemes, word stress, tones);
  4. prosody: stress and rhythm;
  5. intonation;
  6. phonetic reduction: vowel reduction, strong/weak forms, assimilation, dropping of the final vowel, etc.

Hence, the course objectives are as follows:

  1. learn the basics of articulation and perception of sounds, their classification and transcription;
  2. pronounce English sounds correctly;
  3. learn the basics of the theory of phonemes, intonation, stress and rhythm;
  4. sound English in the flow of speech;
  5. understand native speakers correctly.

Multimedia Course in Practical Phonetics and Phonology of the English Language consists of 4 Modules:

  1. Sounds;
  2.  Prosody;
  3.  Intonation;
  4.  Tests.

Module Sounds which includes information on phonemes consists of an introduction and two learning modules, those of consonants and vowels, with corresponding phonetic processes.

Introduction to Sounds gives the picture of organs of speech and their names. By clicking the name of an organ of speech you will see its position in the vocal apparatus. The articulation process is described. Sounds, phonemes and possible mistakes with advice how to avoid them are given.

Learning Module of Consonants consists of an introduction, 6 blocks of consonants and a block of phonetic processes such as accommodation, assimilation and elision, all the blocks include exercises. Full classification of consonants is given in the introduction.

Learning Module of Vowels consists of an introduction, 5 blocks of vowels and a block of phonetic processes such as reduction, strong/weak forms and combination of vowels, all the blocks include exercises. Full classification of vowels is given in the introduction.

All the blocks of sounds are presented in the form of a table and you have a chance to listen to and practise the pronunciation of sounds, their definitions and do exercises with these sounds as many times as you need.

Module Prosody includes rules of syllable formation and their division, as well as information on position of stress in a word, stress in compound words and rhythm. The module also includes exercises.

Module Intonation includes 49 dialogues on each sound and certain intonation patterns you learned in the 1st semester. The purpose of this Module is to practise sounds, stress, rhythm and intonation patterns in discourse. The module has a built-in test program. You choose the dialogue with the sound you study and by clicking the microphone symbol download the dialogue. After downloading you listen to the dialogue and start marking the intonation sentence by sentence. There is a menu of intonation symbols before each word. The symbols are as follows:

  1. the Rise-Fall /\
  2. the Fall-Rise \/
  3. the Rise-Fall-Rise /\/
  4. the High Fall ˥ \
  5. the High Rise ˥ /
  6. the Low Fall ˩ \
  7. the Low Rise ˩ /
  8. the Mid Level >
  9. Stressed word ˥ |
  10. Half-stressed word ˩ |
  11. Accidental Rise ↑
  12. The first stressed syllable (and the only one) before the nucleus →
  13. The first stressed syllable before the nucleus ↘

You choose the necessary symbol and when the sentence is marked you push the Next Sentence button. If the marked intonation is correct the next sentence of the dialogue appears on the screen. If there is a mistake the phrase You’ve made some mistakes. Try again! will pop up and you will have to listen to this sentence once again and correct the mistakes. The words with correct intonation will be marked by green symbols and the words which have mistakes in them will remain with the menu of the intonation symbols before them. So you are to listen once again and choose the correct symbols. After finishing marking the intonation in the dialogue you click the Next Sentence button and the whole marked dialogue appears on the screen. You are to listen to this dialogue once again and repeat it after the speakers. Then practise it in pairs. You can download it and either print it out or keep it on your computer at home. All the dialogues intoned in class are to be learned by heart at home.

Module Tests includes tests on Modules Sounds and Prosody, i.e. 12 tests. Each test has several questions of different structure, i.e. multiple-choice tasks, match tasks, fill-in tasks and write-the-correct-answer tasks. These tests are for class work only. The time for each test is 15 min. After finishing the test you click the Finish test button and see your score on the screen immediately.

After finishing the Learning Module on consonants there is a Revision test on consonants. After finishing the Learning Module on vowels there is a Revision test on vowels. The time for each test is 40 min.

On finishing the Multimedia Course in Practical Phonetics and Phonology of the English Language you are to take an exam.

The exam includes the following tasks:

  1. Write a general final test (40 tasks, 60 min)
  2. Recite 3-4 dialogues from the course by heart
  3. Listen to, intone and recite a new dialogue

Test evaluation criteria are as follows:

  1. “5” – 100% - 92%
  2. “4” – 75% - 91%
  3. “3” – 50% - 74%
  4. “2” – 49% <

Our Multimedia Course is designed for 36 hours of class work (18 lessons) and minimum 36 hours of homework. Each lesson includes studying 5-6 sounds and 5-6 dialogues with these sounds. Here is our Practical Phonetics and Phonology course.


(2 hours)
Topic  Learning Modules
1 Speech Organs. Articulation. Sounds and Phonemes. Test 1 Module: Sounds  
2 Introduction:  Classification of Consonants. Noise consonants. Stops. Test 2 Learning Module of Consonants
Introduction + Block1 [p,b,t,d,k,g]
3 Fricatives. Test 3 Block 2 [f,v,Ɵ,ð] 36-37, 41-42
4 Fricatives. Test 4 Block 3 [s,z,ʃ,ჳ,h] 30-33, 40
5 Affricates. Test 5 Block 4 [ʧ,dჳ] 34-35
6 Sonorants Block 5 [m,n,ŋ] 43-45
7 Sonorants. Test 6 Block 6 [l,w,r,j] 46-47, 38, 48-49, 39
8 Consonant sequences. Phonetic processes: Accommodation, Assimilation, Elision. Allophones: Revision
Test 7
Block 7  
9 Revision Test: Consonants Block 1-7 Revision: Dialogues
10 Introduction: Classification of Vowels. Monophthongs.
Test 8
Learning Module of Vowels
Introduction +
Block 1 [i:,ɪ,e,æ]
11 Monophthongs Block 2 [ʌ,ɑ:, ɒ,ɔ:] 5-6, 8-9
12 Monophthongs. Test 9 Block 3 [ʊ,u:, ɜ:, ə] 10-13
13 Diphthongs Block 4 [eɪ,aɪ, ɔɪ,aʊ] 15-17, 19
14 Diphthongs. Test 10 Block 5 [ɜʊ, ɪə,eə,ʊə] 20, 22-23
15 Vowel sequences. Phonetic processes: Reduction, Elision. Strong and weak forms. Combination of vowels. Test 11 Block 6  
16 Syllabic Structure. Stress. Formation of syllables, their division. Position of stress in a word. Stress in compound words. Rhythm. Test 12 Module: Prosody  
17 Revision Test: Vowels Block 1-6 + Prosody Revision:   Dialogues
18 Written Test
Oral Exam

After each class you are given a home task to learn the necessary theoretical material, practice the sounds and dialogues, learn the intoned dialogues by heart and intone some new dialogues. The next class starts with a test and checking the learnt dialogues.

The course of English Phonetics and Phonology covers all five years of study. In the 1st and 2nd semesters you gain and develop phonological competence and learn the basics of Theoretical Phonetics to be taken in the 3rd year. In the 3rd and 4th semesters you will continue to practise English sounds in discourse. In the 7th, 8th, 9th semesters you will study American, Australian and Canadian variants of the English language.

So this course is very important in gaining phonological competence. It gives the basics of English pronunciation and opens up new horizons in mastering your proficiency in English.

This 2nd semester Multimedia Course is taught in the multimedia class only. It is available on the South Ural State University server. You can go to this server from your computer at home or any place in order to work with the theory, practical matter and dialogues.

We hope that you will really enjoy working with this Multimedia Course in Practical Phonetics and Phonology of the English Language and soon you will sound authentically English!


  1. Практическая фонетика английского языка: Учеб.для.студ.высш.учеб.заведений / М.А.Соколова, К.П.Гинтовт, Л.А.Кантер и т.д. – М.: Гуманит. изд. центр ВЛАДОС, 2001. – 384с.
  2. Теоретическая фонетика английского языка: Учеб.для студ.ин-тов и фак.иностр.яз./ М.А.Соколова, К.П.Гинтовт, И.П.Тихонова, Р.М.Тихонова. – М.: Гуманит.изд.центр ВЛАДОС, 1996. – 286 с.
  3. Общеевропейские компетенции владения иностранным языком: Изучение, преподавание, оценка. Европейский год языков 2001. Департамент современных языков, Страсбург. Cambridge University Press, Московский государственный лингвистический университет, 2003г. - 256с.
  4. Т.Н.Хомутова, О.В.Носкова. Практическая фонетика английского языка. Контрольные задания для студентов 1 курса факультета Лингвистики. Челябинск, Изд-во ЮУрГУ, 2001.- 31с.
  5. Караушев В.Ф., Терентьева Л.В., Тягунова Т.Н. Введение в разработку банков программно-дидактических тестовых заданий. Руководство. – М.: МГУП, 2005. -52с.
  6. Ann Baker. Ship or Sheep? An intermediate pronunciation course. Cambridge University Press, 1996. – 168p..
  7. Ann Baker. Ship or Sheep? An intermediate pronunciation course. Cambridge University Press (Set of 3 cassettes), 1996.
  8. Colin Mortimer. Elements of Pronunciation. Intensive practice for intermediate and more advanced students. Cambridge University Press, 1997. – 100p.
  9. Colin Mortimer. Elements of Pronunciation. Pronunciation course for intermediate and more advanced students (1 cassette), 1997.
  10. Daniel Jones. English Pronouncing Dictionary. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  11. J.D.O’Connor. Better English Pronunciation. Cambridge University Press, 1995. – 150p.
  12. J.D.O’Connor. Better English Pronunciation. Cambridge University Press (Set of 2 cassettes), 1995.
  13. Thorne Sara. Mastering. Advanced English Language. Macmillan Press Ltd., 1997. – 488p.