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Professor Sarah Hawkins

The acoustics and perception of speech; interactive aspects of speech and music
Professor Sarah Hawkins

Emeritus Professor in Speech and Music Science

The acoustics and perception of speech

Interactive aspects of speech and music

Office Phone: (+44) (0)1223 761060

Departments and Institutes

Faculty of Music:

Research Interests

Research interests are in how humans communicate using sound-based systems. Early research studied timing and rhythm in children’s speech, subsequently turning to exploration of subtle differences in acoustic-phonetic patterns that systematically reflect distinctions in linguistic structure, and how listeners use these subtle cues to understand natural and synthetic speech (‘Roles and representations of systematic fine phonetic detail in speech understanding’, Journal of Phonetics, 31, (2003) 373-405, and 32 (2004) 141). These interests have been extended to the study of musical interaction and performance, as well as speech.


  • Psycholinguistics
  • Acoustics
  • Phonetics
  • Neuroscience
  • Music and language

Key Publications

Hawkins, S. (submitted) Lexical representations, In A. Cohn, C. Fougeron, and M. Huffman (eds.) Handbook of Laboratory Phonology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Hawkins, S. (in press) Phonetic variation as communicative system: Perception of the particular and the abstract, In C. Fougeron, M. d’Imperio and B. Kühnert (eds.) Laboratory Phonology X: Variation. Mouton de Gruyter

Hawkins, S. (2009) Phonological features, auditory objects, and illusions, Journal of Phonetics

Hawkins, S. and Midgley, J. (2005) Formant frequencies of RP monophthongs in four age groups of speakers, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35(2), 183-199.