Department of Linguistics: Phonetics and Phonology Research Cluster

Members of the cluster

Ricky CHAN

Ricky's research areas include forensic phonetics, psycholinguistics and second language acquisition. His PhD project investigates the speaker-specific information encoded in lexical tones. He has also been exploring the cognitive processes involved in second language acquisition, especially how learning may take place without awareness.

Yvonne FLORY

Yvonne's research interest is Forensic Speaker Comparison. Her PhD focuses on within-speaker variation, especially how head and body postures influence the speech signal.

Calbert GRAHAM

Calbert's main research interests are Japanese and Romance Linguistics, Language acquisition and Phonological theory. His PhD is a cross-linguitic study of the L2 acquisition of English prosodic structure (rhythm and intonation) in Japanese and Spanish adult native speakers. He hopes to assess the role of the L1, language typology and universal linguistic principles (such as markedness) in their L2 phonological development; and to further search for criterial features that can characterise this development from initial state to ultimate attainment.


Toby is interested in prosody and has been working on a research project investigating the form and function of phonetic features in intonation. He was reviously engaged in research in forensic phonetics, and is also interested in historical linguistics and the documentation of endangered languages.

Hae-Sung JEON

Hae-Sung's PhD work is on the production and perception of phrase boundaries in Seoul Korean. Her research interests include prosodic systems of languages, segmental-suprasegmental interactions and rhythm in speech and music.


Anna's work focuses on the sociophonetics of Sydney Aboriginal English. More specifically, she is interested in the use of prosodic features such as pitch movement, speech rhythm, and voice quality in the performance of Aboriginal identities.


Mark's main interests are the sources and motivations for crosslinguistic phonetic variation, despite the relative uniformity of the human vocal tract, and how innovative phonetic patterns arise. He is also interested in the phonetic-phonology interface, and how linguistic structure can be phonetically encoded. Mark is currently part-time lecturer in phonetics at City University, London.

Marianna KAIMAKI

Marianna's research focuses on the phonetics and phonology of English and Greek conversational speech. She is concerned with the analysis of sequences of talk-in-interaction in order to determine how phonetic features (including prosody) are used by participants in conversation to convey conversational actions/meanings and whether we can identify consistent patterns of those features in conversation. She is also interested in the phonetic variation encountered in speech and has recently worked on the phonetic realisation of Greek vowels.


Maria's research focuses on the grammar development of English L2 learners and the complex interplay between the nuclear stress, intonation patterns, syntax, and discourse meaning. Using corpus-based research techniques and analysis of both perception and production data, she is investigating the cross-linguistic influence of the typologically different languages (Russian and Italian) on the development of the focus-marking strategies in English L2.

Geraldine KWEK

Geraldine's main interests lie in phonetic variation and new innovations in varieties of English and the sociolinguistic factors that contribute to these. Her PhD study looks at the phonetic realisations and phonotactics of /r/ in Singapore English. It also aims to investigate the variation of these amongst speakers of different social backgrounds and hopes to study the attitudes towards these realisations.

Aike LI

Aike is interested in phonetics, phonology and second language acquisition. Her current research project investigates L2 rhythm development by learners of English.


Kirsty's research interests include phonetic theory, speaker characteristics, forensic phonetics and phonetic realisation of varieties of English, especially Australian English. Among other projects, she is currently working on an investigation of the phonetic correlates of voice similarity as judged by listeners.

Francis NOLAN

Francis Nolan's interests centre on the various information carried by the speech signal. He studies how the identity of a speaker is encoded in speech, and as a consequence has been active in the application of Phonetics in forensic science. He has recently led two ESRC-funded projects, DyVis and VoiceSim, which studied aspects of speaker identity. His research interests also include prosody (including rhythm and dialect intonation), and the phonetic variation which occurs in fluent, natural speech.


Joe's PhD is a study of the interaction between phonology and syntax in Gyalsumdo, an endangered Tibetan language of Nepal. He is especially interested in the phonology-syntax interface and correspondences between phonology and syntax, and the relation of tonal phenomena to both of these.

Brechtje POST

Brechtje's research centres around intonational and prosodic phonology, where she investigates how interfaces between the phonological structure and other types of linguistic structure constrain prosody and intonation, and the way in which they are cued in the speech signal.Her research projects approach this theme from different angles. She is currently directing a major research project on the cognitive and neural processing of intonational information (funded by the ESRC 2009-2012), as well as a collaborative project with Cambridge ESOL on the role of phonological and prosodic information in L2 English at different levels of proficiency (funded by Cambridge Assessment). L2 English is also the focus of a corpus-building project which she is co-investigator on (funded by Newton Trust and Education First). She also participates in international collaborative work on Romance prosodic typology (funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche and the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia).


Elaine's project deals with 'The acquisition of prosody in Spanish-English bilingual children'. This thesis sets out to compare and evaluate the acquisition of prosody in simultaneous bilinguals with both a stress-timed (English) as well as a syllable-timed (Spanish) language. The focus of this investigation will be on rhythm, with an analysis of its acquisition and development in 2-, 5- and 8-year-old bilinguals respectively, and a comparison to a monolingual baseline.


Bert is primarily interested in phenomena that shed light on the structure and origins of the phonological component of the grammar, especially in the realms of psychophonology (language games, speech errors, acquisition of first, second, and toy languages, development of writing systems), historical linguistics (sound change, reconstruction, evolution of language, Indo-European, Altaic, and Northwest Caucasian languages), and sociolinguistics (dialectology, microvariation, and nanovariation). He also enjoys working with native speakers to document endangered languages, especially dialects of Armenian, Abkhaz, and English.