Centre for Behaviour and Evolution

Staff Profile

Dr Rory Turnbull

Senior Lecturer


Internal roles

Co-Convenor, Cross-Faculty Phonetics and Phonology Research Group

External roles

Editorial board member, Glossa Psycholinguistics

Summary CV

Senior Lecturer in Phonetics and Phonology, Newcastle University (2023-Present)

Lecturer in Phonetics and Phonology, Newcastle University (2020-2023)

Assistant Professor in Phonology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2017-2020)

Postdoctoral Researcher, Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique (2015-2017)

PhD in Linguistics, Ohio State University (2015)

MA (hons) in English Language and Linguistics, University of Edinburgh (2009)


I am interested in the phonological processes and representations of the mental lexicon and as such my research sits at the intersection between phonetics, phonology, and psycholinguistics. In my PhD dissertation, I investigated the cognitive source of frequency and predictability effects in spoken language. More generally, I am interested in the ways that frequency, predictability, and other usage-based factors influence linguistic sound structures. My current research examines how factors of lexical organization, such as phonological neighborhood density, influence speech production and perception. Additionally, I maintain an active research agenda in intonation and prosody, investigating the relationships between predictability, context, and the phonetics of prosodic contrasts.

I use a wide variety of research paradigms, drawing from experimental phonetics, cognitive psychology, and theoretical phonology. There is no “one size fits all” solution to research in the language sciences. This methodological pluralism entails a cross-linguistic approach, which is vital for the advancement of the field, particularly when a key finding is based on data from a small number of languages. Several of my projects involve cross-linguistic studies and diverse methodological approaches.



Semester 2 consultation and feedback hours:

  • Monday 11:00-12:30
  • Tuesday 11:00-12:30

2023/2024 teaching:

  • SEL2000 Phonological theory
  • SEL2236 It's not what you say, it's how you say it: Prosody and intonation
  • SEL8154 Issues in phonological theory I
  • SEL8698 Melody in language

2022/2023 teaching:

  • SEL2000 Phonological theory
  • SEL8154 Issues in phonological theory I

2021/2022 teaching:

  • SEL1027 Introduction to the Study of Language 1: Syntax and Phonology
  • SEL2000 Phonological theory
  • SEL8117 Phonetics and phonology
  • SEL8154 Issues in phonological theory I

2020/2021 teaching:

  • SEL2000 Phonological theory
  • SEL3006 Topics in phonological theory
  • SEL8154 Issues in phonological theory I
  • SEL8205 Issues in phonological theory II