Firthian Prosodic Analysis

The phonology that we do at York is heavily influenced by the work of the Firthian Prosodic Analysts, J. R. Firth and the group of people who worked with him at SOAS from the 1930's until the 1960's.

Firthian Archive.

The Department houses the Firthian Phonology Archive. The main part of the Archive is a collection of papers, seminar notes, handouts, lecture notes and other documents; some of these contain marginalia written by Firth and others from SOAS. Most of this material has come from workers in the Firthian tradition such as Carnochan, Henderson, Sprigg and Waterson. It is a unique resource which we are proud to house here.

We also have notes from the Prosodic Colloquia, organised during the 1980's and 1990's by John Kelly, and which were attended by Eileen Whitely, Eugénie Henderson, Jack Carnochan, Keith Sprigg, and others.

The other part of the Archive is an index which was compiled by Eugénie Henderson. Material from the papers was annotated and arranged under thematic headings. This makes it possible to trace ideas like 'system and structure' and 'polysystemic statement' through the body of Firthian literature.

We welcome scholars who would like to come and make use of the Archive. Please contact Richard Ogden in the first instance.


The module L212 Firthian Prosodic Analysis is run during the spring term. The course covers the theory and practice of FPA and gives students access to some of the materials in the Archive, as well as training them in how to do Prosodic Analysis.