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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre
Areas of Interest: 
Phonetic theory
The application of phonetics in forensic science


Francis Nolan's interests centre on Phonetic theory. His early research looked at how, and to what extent, the identity of a speaker is encoded in speech - see for instance his book The Phonetic Bases of Speaker Recognition (Cambridge: CUP, 1983 [reissued 2009]), and as a consequence he has been active in the application of Phonetics in forensic science. He led two ESRC-funded projects, DyViS and VoiceSim, which studied aspects of speaker identity. His research interests also include prosody (including speech rhythm and dialect differences in intonation), and the Phonetic variation which occurs in fluent, natural speech. His teaching has covered phonetic theory and description, phonology, practical phonetic skills, and experimental phonetics.


Key publications: 



F. Nolan (in press) The rise and fall of the British School of intonation analysis. To appear in: J. Barnes & S. Shattuck-Hufnagel (eds), Prosodic Theory and Practice. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

F. Nolan (2021) Intonation. In: B. Aarts, A. McMahon, & L. Hinrichs (eds), Handbook of English Linguistics (2nd Edition). Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. pp. 385–405.

H-S. Jeon & F. Nolan (2017) Prosodic marking of narrow focus in Seoul Korean. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology 8(1) 2, 1–30. doi: 10.5334/labphon.48

F. Nolan & H-S. Jeon (2014) Speech rhythm: a metaphor? Transactions of the Royal Society B 369, 20130396. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0396

F. Nolan & B. Post (2014) The IViE Corpus. In: J. Durand, U. Gut & G. Kristoffersen, (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Corpus Phonology. Oxford: OUP, 475-485.

F. Nolan & E.L. Asu (2009) The Pairwise Variability Index and coexisting rhythms in language. Phonetica 66, 64-77. doi: 10.1159/000208931

E-L. Low, E. Grabe, & F. Nolan (2000) Quantitative characterizations of speech rhythm: syllable-timing in Singapore English. Language & Speech43, 377-401.

Forensic Phonetics

Leemann, A., Kolly, M-J., Nolan, F., & Li, Y. (2018) The role of segments and prosody in the identification of a speaker’s dialect. Journal of Phonetics 68, 69-84.    doi: 10.1016/j.wocn.2018.02.001

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

F. Nolan, K. McDougall & 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. doi: 10.1558/ijsll.v20i2.229

F. Nolan (2012) Degrees of freedom in speech production: an argument for native speakers in LADO. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 19(2), 263-289. doi: 10.1558/ijsll.v19i2.263

F. Nolan (2003) A recent voice parade. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law [formerly Forensic Linguistics] 10(2), 277-291.

F. Nolan (1983; reissued 2009) The Phonetic Bases of Speaker Recognition. Cambridge: CUP.

Connected Speech Processes

K. Yoo & F. Nolan (2020) Sampling the progression of domain-initial denasalization in Seoul Korean. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology 11(1), 22. doi: 10.5334/labphon.203

B. Kühnert & F. Nolan (1999) The origin of coarticulation. In: W.J. Hardcastle and N. Hewlett (eds), Coarticulation: Theory, Data and Techniques in Speech Production. Cambridge: CUP. pp 7-30

F. Nolan (1992) The descriptive role of segments: evidence from assimilation. In: G. Docherty and D.R. Ladd (eds.), Laboratory Phonology 2, 261-280. Cambridge: CUP.

Professor of Phonetics, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (Emeritus)
Departments and institutes: 

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