University of Cambridge

Kirsty McDougall

   Clare College
   Trinity Lane
   Sidgwick Avenue
   Cambridge CB2 1TL
   United Kingdom

   E-mail: kem37 -at- cam.ac.uk


Current Position

College Lecturer and Admissions Tutor,
Fellow and Director of Studies in Linguistics, Clare College

Education

Ph.D. (Linguistics), University of Cambridge
M.Phil. (Linguistics), University of Cambridge
B.A. (Linguistics), University of Melbourne
B.Sc. (Mathematics and Statistics), University of Melbourne

Research

My research interests in phonetics broadly fall into two main areas, speaker characteristics and the phonetics of varieties of English. I use experimental methods and approaches involving spontaneous speech, and am concerned with improving our understanding of the roles of individual, social and historical factors in theories of speech production and perception.

The primary focus of my research to date has been in the area of speaker characteristics and its forensic phonetic applications. I am very interested in what makes a speaker’s voice sound individual, and applications of this in the forensic domain. My Ph.D., entitled ‘The Role of Formant Dynamics in Determining Speaker Identity’, investigates ways formant frequency dynamics might be used to characterise a speaker. In the DyViS project, ‘Dynamic Variability in Speech: A Forensic Phonetic Study of British English’ (UK ESRC Award no. RES-000-23-1248), I further pursued this line of research by developing techniques to characterise a speaker's formant dynamics using polynomial equations. The DyViS database has enabled me to trial my techniques on larger populations, on a wider range of sound sequences, and across a range of speaking styles, as is required for application in forensic phonetic casework.

Recent work on speaker characteristics includes an investiagiton of the potential of disfluency features to distinguish speakers for forensic purposes, in collaboration with speech and language therapist and forensic phonetician, Martin Duckworth. Martin and I have developed and tested TOFA (Taxonomy of Fluency Features for Forensic Analysis) towards this aim.

Another area of my interest within forensic phonetics is the use of earwitnesses to identify a voice in legal cases where no recording of the voice is available. I have been consulted by the police as an expert witness regarding the construction of ‘voice parades’ for such cases, and have been researching the use of the statistical technique multi-dimensional scaling to improve the fairness of the procedure for selecting the foil voices for a voice parade. In the VoiceSim project, ‘Voice Similarity and the Effect of the Telephone: A Study of the Implications for Earwitness Evidence’ (UK ESRC Award no. RES-000-22-2582), we investigated the effects of telephone transmission on earwitnesses’ ability to judge the degree of similarity among voices and on their ability to identify a voice in a voice parade. During my British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, my project entitled 'A Phonetic Theory of Voice Similarity' investigated the phonetic underpinnings of perceived voice similarity, in particular, the effect of speakers' and listeners' accents on the perception of voice similarity.

The phonetic realisation of varieties of English is an ongoing interest in my research. As a native speaker of Australian English, I have a particular interest in this variety and its relationship to other varieties of English. My work in this area has included an investigation with Mark J. Jones of the acoustic relationship between Australian English fricated /t/, /s/ and /esh/, in comparison with these sounds in Dublin and Middlesbrough Englishes. I have also carried out a study of individual variation in frication of the voiceless plosives /p, t, k/ in Australian English produced by pairs of male twins, with Deborah Loakes, with whom I am engaged in further projects on the realisation of consonants.

Forensic Consulting

I undertake forensic phonetic expert witness work in collaboration with Prof. Francis Nolan. This includes tasks such as speaker identification/comparison, voice parades (earwitness identification), transcription and questioned utterance analysis.

Teaching

I am currently a supervisor for these courses in the Linguistics Tripos:

  • Paper 1 - Sounds and Words
  • Paper 6 - Phonetics
  • Journal Articles

  • K. McDougall and M. Duckworth (accepted 2017) ‘Profiling Fluency: An Analysis of Individual Variation in Disfluencies in Adult Males.’ Speech Communication.
  • K. McDougall, F. Nolan and T. Hudson (2015) ‘Telephone Transmission and Earwitnesses: Performance on Voice Parades Controlled for Voice Similarity.’ Phonetica 72: 257-272. DOI: 10.1159/000439385
  • K. McDougall (2013) ‘Assessing Perceived Voice Similarity Using Multidimensional Scaling for the Construction of Voice Parades.’ International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 20.2: 163-172.
  • F. Nolan, K. McDougall and T. Hudson (2013) 'Effects of the Telephone on Perceived Voice Similarity: Implications for Voice Line-ups.' International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 20.2: 229-246.
  • M. Duckworth, K. McDougall, G. de Jong and L. Shockey (2011) ‘The Consistency of Formant Measurements in High Quality Audio Data: the Effect of Agreeing Measurement Procedures.’ International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 18.1: 35-51.
  • J.P. French, F. Nolan, P. Foulkes, P. Harrison and K. McDougall (2010) ‘A Position Statement Concerning Use of Impressionistic Likelihood Terms in Forensic Speaker Comparison Cases: Rejoinder to the Response of Rose and Morrison’ International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 17.1: 143–152.
  • D. Loakes and K. McDougall (2010) ‘Individual Variation in the Frication of Voiceless Plosives in Australian English: a Study of Twins’ Speech.’ Australian Journal of Linguistics 30.2: 155-181.
  • M.J. Jones and K. McDougall (2009) ‘The Acoustic Character of Fricated /t/ in Australian English: A Comparison with /s/ and /esh/.’ Journal of the International Phonetic Association 39.3: 265-289. [pdf, © International Phonetic Association]
  • F. Nolan, K. McDougall, G. de Jong and T. Hudson (2009) ‘The DyViS Database: Style-Controlled Recordings of 100 Homogeneous Speakers for Forensic Phonetic Research.’ International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 16.1: 31–57.
  • S. Lawrence, F. Nolan and K. McDougall (2008) ‘Acoustic and Perceptual Effects of Telephone Transmission on Vowel Quality.’ International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 15.2: 161-192.
  • K. McDougall (2006) ‘Dynamic Features of Speech and the Characterisation of Speakers: Towards a New Approach Using Formant Frequencies.’ International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 13.1: 89-126.
  • K. McDougall (2006) ‘The Role of Formant Dynamics in Determining Speaker Identity.’ Ph.D. abstract. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law. 13.1: 144-145.
  • K. McDougall (2004) ‘Speaker-Specific Formant Dynamics: An Experiment on Australian English /aI/.’ International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 11.1: 103-130.
  • K. Kawasaki and K. McDougall (2003) ‘Implications of Representations of Casual Conversation for Second Language Learners: A Case Study in Japanese Sentence Final Particles.’ Japanese Language Education Around the Globe 13: 41-55.
  • Book Chapters

  • G. de Jong, K. McDougall and F. Nolan (2007) ‘Sound Change and Speaker Identity: An Acoustic Study.’ In C. Müller (ed.), Speaker Classification. Berlin: Springer. Vol. 2: 130-141.
  • Published Conference Papers

  • K. McDougall, M. Duckworth and T. Hudson (2015) ‘Individual and Group variation in Disfluency Features: A Cross-Accent Investigation.’ In: The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015 (ed.) Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 10-14 August 2015, Glasgow. Paper number 0308.1-5. [pdf]
  • G. de Jong-Lendle, F. Nolan, K. McDougall and T. Hudson (2015) ‘Voice Lineups: A Practical Guide.’ Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 10-14 August 2015, Glasgow. Paper number 0598. 1-5. [pdf]
  • K. McDougall and M.J. Jones (2011) ‘Liquid Polarisation in Australian English.’ In W.-S. Lee and E. Zee (eds.), Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 17-21 August 2011, Hong Kong, 1358-1361.
  • F. Nolan, K. McDougall and T. Hudson (2011) ‘Some Acoustic Correlates of Perceived (Dis)similarity between Same-Accent Voices.’ In W.-S. Lee and E. Zee (eds.), Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 17-21 August 2011, Hong Kong, 1506-1509.
  • D. Loakes and K. McDougall (2007) ‘Frication of Australian English /p t k/: Group Tendencies and Individual Differences’, In J. Trouvain and W. Barry (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 6-10 August 2007, Saarbrücken, 1445-1448. [pdf]
  • K. McDougall and F. Nolan (2007) ‘Discrimination of Speakers Using the Formant Dynamics of /u:/ in British English’, In J. Trouvain and W. Barry (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 6-10 August 2007, Saarbrücken, 1825-1828. [pdf]
  • G. de Jong, K. McDougall, T. Hudson and F. Nolan (2007) ‘The Speaker-Discriminating Power of Sounds Undergoing Historical Change: A Formant-Based Study’, In J. Trouvain and W. Barry (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 6-10 August 2007, Saarbrücken, 1813-1816. [pdf]
  • T. Hudson, G. de Jong, K. McDougall, P. Harrison and F. Nolan (2007) ‘F0 Statistics for 100 Young Male Speakers of Standard Southern British English’, In J. Trouvain and W. Barry (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 6-10 August 2007, Saarbrücken, 1809-1812. [pdf]
  • F. Nolan, K. McDougall, G. de Jong and T. Hudson (2006) ‘A Forensic Phonetic Study of 'Dynamic' Sources of Variability in Speech: The DyViS Project.’ In P. Warren and C.I. Watson (eds.), Proceedings of the 11th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, 6-8 December 2006, Auckland: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association, 13-18. [pdf]
  • M.J. Jones and K. McDougall (2006) ‘A Comparative Acoustic Study of Australian English Fricated /t/: Assessing the Irish (English) Link.’ In P. Warren and C.I. Watson (eds.), Proceedings of the 11th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, 6-8 December 2006, Auckland: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association, 6-12. [pdf]
  • D. Loakes and K. McDougall (2004) ‘Frication of /k/ and /p/ in Australian English: Inter- and Intra-Speaker Variation.’ In S. Cassidy, F. Cox, R. Mannell and S. Palethorpe (eds.), Proceedings of the 10th Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, 8-10 December 2004, Sydney: Australian Speech Science and Technology Association, 171-176. [pdf]
  • K. McDougall (2004) ‘Coarticulation in British English: Differences among Speakers in Vowel-to-Vowel Effects.’ In E. Daskalaki, N. Katsos, M. Mavrogiorgos and M. Reeve (eds.), Proceedings of CamLing 2004, The University of Cambridge 2nd Postgraduate Conference in Language Research, 19 March 2004, Cambridge: Cambridge Institute for Language Research, 161-168.
  • K. McDougall (2003) ‘Vowel-to-Vowel Coarticulatory Evidence of the “Targetful” Nature of Schwa.’ In S. Palethorpe and M. Tabain (eds.), Proceedings of the 6th International Seminar on Speech Production, 7-10 December 2003, Sydney: Macquarie University, 161-166.
  • K. McDougall (2003) ‘Individual Differences in the Formant Dynamics of Vowels at Different Levels of Stress.’ In M. J. Solé, D. Recasens and J. Romero (eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 3-9 August 2003, Barcelona: Causal, 1611-1614.
  • K. McDougall (2002) ‘Speaker-Characterising Properties of Formant Dynamics: A Case Study.’ In C. Bow (ed.), Proceedings of the 9th Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, 3-5 December 2002, Melbourne: Australian Speech Science and Technology Association, 403-408.
  • Ph.D. Dissertation

  • K. McDougall (2005) The Role of Formant Dynamics in Determining Speaker Identity. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge.
  • [more]

    Professional Memberships

  • Australian Linguistic Society
  • Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association
  • British Association of Academic Phoneticians
  • International Association for Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics
  • International Phonetic Association
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    Last modified 11 September 2017.