The languages of the world display a considerable variety of vowels and consonants, though not all of them are equally frequent. This course first offers a systematic description of speechs sound based on the charts of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Speech sounds of different classes are presented according to major classes (vowels, obstruents, sonorants, non-pulmonic consonants); the underlying articulatory processes are illustrated in terms of their acoustic realisation (e.g. by spectrographic analyses). The second part of the course provides an introduction to theoretical and methodological issues of phonological typoogy from the beginnings of European structuralism to the phonological databases of today. Also, we will discuss the question as to which extent universal principles may be detected in the variety of phonological systems.