School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences Linguistics and English Language


Phonetics and Phonology Research Group


Go to

The Phonetics and Phonology Research Group (or 'P-Group') brings together researchers who are working to understand the phonetics and/or phonology of human language. We come at these issues from formal, experimental, and engineering perspectives, with interests in synchrony, diachrony and acquistion. Members of the group work as individuals, in collaboration with each other, and in a number of collaborations with other researchers in Edinburgh and at other universities.

The main forum of the group is the P-Workshop, which meets on Thursdays (although not every Thursday) at 1.10pm:

Members of the P-Group also organise other discussion groups:


Most members of the group are primarily affiliated with Linguistics and English Language, but others come from elsewhere at the University of Edinburgh (eg, the Centre for Speech Technology Research and Informatics), or from Speech and Hearing Sciences at Queen Margaret University. We combine a broad range of expertise and interests, ranging from acoustic and articulatory phonetics to formal phonological theory, taking in sociophonetics, phonological dialectology, speech recognition and speech synthesis, speech perception, laboratory phonology, historical phonology and developmental phonology. Group members are listed at the bottom of this page.

Postgraduate study in the P-Group

We offer a supportive and stimulating environment for postgraduate research in almost any area of phonetics and phonology, and we are keen to encourage applications for PhD or MSc level research in the areas represented in the group. Feel free to contact any of us to discuss plans. For details of how to apply for postgraduate study in LEL, see here.

Recent PhDs completed by members of the P-Group include:


The lab facilities for phonetic and experimental work at Edinburgh are exceptional. Our School hosts facilities for sound recording, perception experiments, eye-tracking, electromagnetic articulometry (EMA) and electroencephalography (EEG). Our technical staff have a wide range of relevant skills, including audio and articulatory recording, stimulus presentation for perception experiments, and script writing for data analysis and processing.


Research in phonetics and phonology at Edinburgh has long roots in several areas. Edinburgh was the second university in the UK, and the first in Scotland, to establish a phonetics department, led from 1948 by David Abercrombie. This was the first department in Europe to acquire a sound spectrograph, and established an enduring tradition of laboratory- and applications-based research into linguistic questions. Edinburgh also became the second UK university to create a chair of Linguistics when Angus McIntosh was appointed professor of English Language and General Linguistics in 1948. He established an equally enduring ‘English Language’ tradition of research into phonological dialectology and historical phonology. Work on the acquisition of phonology has roots in the School of Applied Linguistics (the UK’s first), founded by Ian Catford in 1957. Subsequent departmental mergers and splits led to research in phonetics and phonology being carried out in a number of units in the university. The Centre for Speech Technology Research was established in 1984, in part by researchers in linguistics and phonetics. Phonological theory was developed in the departments of Linguistics and of English Language, where Dependency Phonology was developed during the representational phonology boom of the 1980s. In 2005, the current department of Linguistics and English Language was established, uniting many of these strands in one unit. Current work continues all these traditions, and adds to them.

Request group membership