24.961 | Fall 2014 | Graduate
Introduction to Phonology


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


Permission of the instructor.


This course is the first half of a year-long introduction to the P side of the grammar. Its goals are to introduce the major research questions, results, and analytic techniques in the field of phonology. This course focuses on feature and prosodic structure while the sequel, 24.962 Advanced Phonology, considers the interfaces of phonology with morphology, syntax, and the lexicon. Other classes with a P focus in the MIT Linguistics program include 24.963 Linguistic Phonetics, 24.981 Topics in Computational Phonology, and 24.967 Topics in Experimental Phonology, as well as 24.964 Topics in Phonology, which are seminars on topics of current interest. Phonological and phonetic research is presented in the Phonology Circle, to which all are welcome.


  • Prompt attendance and active participation
  • Homework problem sets
  • 10–15 page report of the results of an analysis of data bearing on the sound structure or prosodic structure from a language of your choice.
  • Meet with the instructor by Session 13 to discuss your topic.


Kenstowicz, Michael. Phonology in Generative Grammar. Blackwell Publishing, 1994. ISBN: 9781557864260.

McCarthy, John J. A Thematic Guide to Optimality Theory. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780521796446.

———. Doing Optimality Theory: Applying Theory to Data. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008. ISBN: 9781405151368.

Additional readings can be found in the Readings section.


Homework for a given week will normally be due on Monday of the following week. Feel free to discuss the problem sets with one another but each student must turn in their own write-up of the solution. Homeworks will range from relatively straightforward applications of concepts introduced in class to more challenging and open-ended ones.

Problem sets can be found in the Assignments section.

Course Info
As Taught In
Fall 2014
Learning Resource Types
notes Lecture Notes
assignment Written Assignments