SPCH13005 - Acoustics and Phonetics

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This unit will focus on acoustic phonetics and phonetic transcription of speech. You will apply this theoretical knowledge to practice in a speech pathology context across culturally and linguistically diverse settings. You will be introduced to basic acoustics related to speech, including the analysis of sound waves and speech samples. You will form an understanding of the relationship between the vocal tract and speech sounds produced, as well as the interface between phonetics, phonology and supra-segmentals. The assessment tasks will require you to demonstrate knowledge and skills in listening to and transcribing both normal and disordered speech using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and Australian-English vowel symbols, a fundamental skill required when assessing, diagnosing and treating people with speech disorders.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites There are no pre-requisites for the unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2023

There are no availabilities for this unit on or after Term 2 - 2023

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Online Quiz(zes) 50%
2. In-class Test(s) 50%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2022 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 100.00% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 45.45% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Have Your Say
The students commented that this course was interesting and engaging.
It is recommended that both lecturers continue to include interactive and engaging learning experiences throughout the unit.
Action Taken
The lecturers continued to include interactive activities to enhance students engagement with the content of the unit.
Source: Results of quizzes and in-class tests
Students performed disproportionately on the acoustics and phonetics sections of the assessment tasks.
The two lecturers will discuss the performance differences between the two content areas and consider strategies to ensure more equitable results.
Action Taken
The lecturers changed the structure of the acoustics content of the unit such that it was taught in one block as opposed to distributed across the term. This resulted in more evenly distributed grades across the phonetics and acoustic content.
Source: Student unit evaluations
Students commented that they would have preferred to have the content taught in two separate units as opposed to one unit.
It is recommended that the lecturers continue to collaborate to ensure that both topics are taught in a manner that allows students to understand all content in the one unit.
Action Taken
Source: Student unit evaluations
Students commented that the lecturers were adept in their delivery of the content for the unit and how well the unit flowed.
It is recommended that the lecturers continue to provide the students with quality learning and teaching experiences.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Phonetically transcribe Australian English connected speech using International Phonetic Association symbols and Australian vowel symbols
  2. Use anatomical knowledge of the shape and formation of the vocal tract to describe and acoustically analyse speech
  3. Identify and describe acoustic principles and properties related to speech.

The learning outcomes in this unit contribute to the development of clinical and professional competencies as outlined by Speech Pathology Australia's Professional standards.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Online Quiz(zes)
2 - In-class Test(s)
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
6 - Information Technology Competence
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10