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Unit Overview


This unit presents an overview for audiologists of speech and language development, from early childhood through to adulthood, and relates it to difficulties associated with impaired hearing. Alternative communication systems (e.g. sign language) are also presented. Topics include the production of speech sounds, basic physiological linguistics, linguistic organisation, acoustic phonetics, phoniatrics, sonograms, normal loudness, pitch and timing perception, masking in speech perception, developmental milestones, speech and language development in normal and hearing-impaired children, auditory perception (in children and adults), psychological effects, effects on reading and general education, artificial speech, Makaton, Auslan and signed English.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) deconstruct principles of acoustic phonetics, including the production of vowels, consonants, dipthongs and affricates; (2) analyse speech sounds with time waveforms, spectra and spectograms; (3) analyse the linguistic structure of speech and its normal development; (4) appraise the process of speech and language development, including both normal and abnormal development patterns; (5) evaluate alternative communication strategies, including sign languages, pictorial languages and cued speech; (6) analyse impact of hearing loss on speech perception and speech development; and (7) evaluate common speech and language pathologies including word-finding issues, social communication difficulties, structural language impairments, literacy impairments, voice difficulties and cognitive impairments to the extent that they interfere with communication.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignment and (2) theory examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Ms Emma Chaffey
Unit rules
Enrolment in
90540 Master of Clinical Audiology
or 00840 Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Clinical Audiology
or 73560 Master of Audiological Sciences
and Successful completion of
PHYL5510 Physiology of the Auditory System
Advisable prior study
some biology
or physiology is recommended
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials/labs: equivalent to 2 hours per week, but delivered in an intensive 5-week course in June–August
plus a self-paced speech analysis assignment

Borden, G. J. et al. Speech Science Primer: Physiology, Acoustics and Perception of Speech, 3rd edn: Williams & Wilkins 1994


Denes, P. B. and Prinsen, E. N. The Speech Chain: the Physics and Biology of Spoken Language, 2nd edn: Freeman Press 1993

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.