Phonetics and Phonology

(Jongman, Sereno, Tremblay, Zhang)

Research in this area is concerned with the processes involved in the comprehension and production of spoken language. This requires a thorough understanding of at least the following three areas: acoustic properties of speech sounds, the relation between phonetic structure and phonological representation, and the interpretation of the speech signal in perception. As a result, research in this area involves the study of the physical characteristics of speech, the phonological structure of language, and the perception of speech as it relates to psycholinguistics and cognition in general.

Much of our research is cross-linguistic and examines phonetic features and the way in which they are mapped onto higher lexical levels. This research can not only provide a detailed acoustic description of phonetic features but can also provide the hierarchical linguistic framework to explain how listeners are able to cope with variability. The faculty in this area also share an interest in lexical tone, ranging from the effects of phonetics and lexical frequency on the productivity of tone sandhi patterns in Chinese dialects to acquisition of tone by learners of Mandarin as an instance of category formation.

Acoustic data are acquired in our anechoic chamber and analyzed in the KU Phonetics and Psycholinguistics Laboratory (KUPPL). Airflow and perception data are also collected in KUPPL. For a detailed description of our state-of-the-art facilities, see


Department Highlights
Follow Us
Follow University of Kansas Department of Linguistics on Facebook Follow Univerisity of Kansas News on Twitter
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
KU Today
Quick Tour