I’m teaching a seminar crash course in linguistics to first year undergrads next term. It’s just 3 one hour lectures, and should be fun and engaging. I want it to be hands-on, and give students a chance to become familiar with some techniques, even if they lack the theoretical background still. These are diverse students, not just would-be linguists.

With that in mind, what are some instructional preferably group) activities we could do with Praat which would give students some insight into the complexity and intrigue related to Phonetics/Phonology ? I’m looking for activities we can start in class together but the students can complete as homework for the next lecture ...

Your creative ideas and experiences are appreciated! I’ve never taught a course of total novices before.


  • Give us hints about language competence, e.g. American English, Polish, French. I suggest first deciding what the point that you are trying to make is, then we might suggest how. My standard demo with AE /t,d/ requires students to speak AE.
    – user6726
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 9:14
  • English , German, Icelandic
    – Teusz
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


How about this: 1. In class, ask them to record themselves, and segment all phonemes, so you can teach them how to do that. 2. As homework, they can record someone else or themselves, then they can come back with a few spectrograms of some sounds, and then ask other students to guess what the sounds are.

After these two activities, they will know how to record in Praat, how to make a TextGrid, how to segment, what the spectrogram/waveform represent. Of course, you can add other features in to make it even richer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.