University of Hong Kong > School of Humanities

Phonetics and Phonology Lab


The HKU Phonetics and Phonology Lab provides space where staff and students in the Department of Linguistics carry out experimental research on the sounds occurring in spoken language. Our equipment is used to collect data both in technical setups in the lab, as well as remotely at off-campus and overseas locations where linguistic field research is to be conducted. Our lab is unique to Hong Kong in that our researchers use Ultrasound Tongue Imaging technology to study the movements and shapes of the tongue during speech.

Our Lab comprises of a team of academic staff, postdoctoral fellows, research assistants, and postgraduate students at HKU. Recent research conducted by lab members have covered the following areas:

• Phonetic description: Cantonese phonetics; international varieties of English (Hong Kong English); morphological and syntactic effects on tone and phonation; tonal description (Burmese); vowel systems of various languages (Sasak, Fula).

• Laboratory phonology: Vowel harmony; nasal place assimilation; theoretical models of phonological acquisition.

• Speech production: Inter-speaker and contextual variation; articulatory development in children; articulatory dynamics of speech; coarticulatory variation.

• Speech perception: Listener sensitivity to coarticulatory effects.


IMG_2011 Facilities

Our lab space houses recording, imaging, and testing devices that are essential to studying the articulation, acoustics, and perception of speech. Audio recordings can be made in our anechoic, sound-attenuated recording booth, and behavioral data on perceptual/listening tasks are carried out in desktop computers housed in the lab. The laboratory space is accessible to affiliated staff and research postgraduates.




img-field-kitsField-Ready Recording Kits

The Phonetics & Phonology Lab features six field equipment kits to aid linguistics staff and students in collecting linguistic data in the field. These kits are not only available to our research staff, but also to our Department’s research postgrads and undergraduate linguistics concentrators who are completing their 4th-year fieldwork requirement. Each field kit includes:

• one portable audio recorder (Marantz PMD 661 MKII, Zoom H4N, Zoom H5) • one handheld or tabletop microphone (Olympus ME31, Sennheiser MD64, Røde NT4) • one levalier/clip-on or earset microphone (Audio Technica AT831b, Sennheiser MKE 2-P-C, Shure MX153) • one pair of high-definition stereo headphones

Materials from our kits have been used by HKU students and research staff to collect acoustic and articulatory data on languages spoken in a variety of locations, including the Kam language in Dimen village (Guizhou, China), the Fula language spoken in Nigeria, and various languages spoken in Lombok, Indonesia (Sasak, Balinese, Sumbawa, Bimanese, Buginese). Prior to embarking on their research excursions, students and staff receive training on how to use these materials to obtain high-quality audio recordings.

IMG_3024Ultrasonic Tongue Imaging

Our Lab uses start-of-the-art, ultrasonic imaging technology to collect information on the movement and configuration of the tongue during the production of natural speech. This technology is quiet, harmless, and non-invasive, and it is becoming increasingly utilized by linguistics and speech clinicians. With ultrasound, we are able to explore the shape and motion of different parts of the tongue that cannot otherwise be seen in a conventional video camera recording.


Diana Archangeli ( Professor (Linguistics) Phonology (language sound patterns) and its interface with articulation, acoustics and morphology; vowel harmony; tone; syllabification.

Jonathan Yip ( Post-doctoral Fellow (Linguistics) Articulatory phonetics (coordination and coarticulation); speech perception; phonetic variation; sound change.

Yiu Suet-Yee (Suki) ( Ph.D. Student (Linguistics) Rhythmic structure of tonal languages; speech prosody; tone and music; tonal typology; phonetic articulation.

Cathryn Donohue ( Assistant Professor (Linguistics) Tonal acoustics; perception of tone; Chinese (Fuzhou, Cantonese); lab phonology; speech perception.

Carol K.S. To ( Associate Professor (Speech and Hearing) Speech acquisition; speech sound disorders; communication in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).



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