School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Ghada Khattab

Senior Lecturer



I received my first degree in English Language from the American University in Beirut in 1994. I then studied for a Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and taught in a secondary school in Beirut for three years. In 1997, I came over to the UK to study for my MA in Linguistics and English Language Teaching at the University of Leeds. During that year, I gained an interest in more theoretical aspects of linguistics and in bilingual acquisition, particularly the acquisition of phonetics and phonology. So I went on to study speech production by English-Arabic bilingual children for my PhD, which I obtained from Leeds in 2003. Since then I have been working at Newcastle where I am now a Senior Lecturer in Phonetics.

Roles and Responsibilities

- Personal tutor for the MSc in Language Pathology students
- Organiser of the Speech and Language Sciences Research Seminars Programme
- Fire Warden for King George VI building


Faculty of Arts and Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
1991-1994 BA English Language, English Department
1994-1995 Teaching Diploma in TEFL, Education Department

Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, University of Leeds, UK
1997-1998 MA Linguistics and ELT: Distinction
1998-2003 PhD Linguistics

Previous Positions

1995-1997 Hariri High School II, Beirut, Lebanon
English teacher, primary and secondary level.

1998-2002 Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, University of Leeds
Tutor for the following modules offered at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels: Linguistics, General Phonetics, Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Instrumental Phonetics, Psycholinguistics, Morphology.

2000-2002 Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York.
Part-time lecturer for the following modules: Research in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Psycholinguistics, Phonetics and Phonology of Second Language Acquisition.

2002- Speech & Language Section, University of Newcastle.
Phonetics Lecturer


British Association of Academic Phoneticians (BAAP)
International Phonetic Association
Linguistic Association of Great Britain (LAGB)

Honours and Awards

UTLC (University Teaching and Learning Committee) INNOVATION FUND 2006: Online resource for practical phonetics (with Gerry Docherty)


Arabic, English and French

Informal Interests

I am very interested in sports. Basketball is my long-standing hobby and I have played it both at a professional level (I played for a club in the Lebanon for 5 years ) and at a more leisurely level at the University of Leeds (I played for the women's basketball team for 4 years). Swimming is another hobby of mine which I also competed in between the ages of 12 and 18. Since 2001, I've taken up long distance running and I regularly participate in two main events in Newcastle: Bladon and The Great North Run.


Research Interests

Monolingual and bilingual phonological acquisition; phonetics/phonology and sociolinguistics; foreign accent

Other Expertise

Second language phonology

Current Work

2010-2012: Baseline Data for Arabic Acquisition with Clinical Applications:

2009-2011: Psychological Significance of Production Templates in Phonological and Lexical Advance: A Cross-Linguistic Study:

2009-2011: Assessment of Children from a Bi-or Multilingual Context at Risk for Language Impairment:

2007-2010: Phonological acquisition in multilingual settings: the case of Lebanese Arabic:

2006-2008: Assessment and Management of Children with English as an Additional Language who have Communication Impairments: Finding a New Way Forward:

Future Research

My work with English-Arabic bilinguals has made me aware of the need for more work on Arabic phonetics/phonology, so my future research will concentrate on the phonetics and phonology of Lebanese Arabic and on the monolingual and multilingual acquisition of Arabic.

Research Roles

Member of the College of Peer Reviewers for the Humanities and Arts and Sciences Faculty

Postgraduate Supervision

I would be happy to supervise work on monolingual and bilingual phonological acquisition, sociolinguistics (particularly issues related to bilingual development, but also accent and dialect acquisition), and foreign accent.

Current PhD students:
1. Reenu Punnoose: A phonetic and phonological investigation of liquids in Malaylam

2. Wasan AlSiraih: Voice Quality in Iraqi Arabic.

3. Shaima Al-Qattan: Phonological acquisition in Kuwaiti Arabic

Previous PhD students:
1. Faisal Al Jasser (2008). Phonotactic probability and phonotactic constraints: processing and lexical segmentation by Arabic learners of English as a foreign language.(co-supervised with Martha Young-Scholten).

2. Albashir Ahmed (2008): Production and Perception of Libyan Arabic Vowels.

3. Hanan Taqi (2009): Two dialects, three generations: dialect contact in Kuwait.

4. Hussin Kriba (2010): Perception and production of pharygealized consonants in Libyan Arabic

External examiner:
Ruba Moawad (2006). The Acquisition of the Arabic Gender and Number Systems. PhD, University of Wales, Bangor.

Eman Abdo (2010): A study of the phonological structure and representation of first words in Arabic. PhD, University of Leicester.

Internal examiner:
Yu-Lin Cheng (2007). A Study on Time Costs of Processing Mixed-Language Speech. PhD, Newcastle University. (with Jean-Marc Dewaele as external examiner).

Thora Masdottir (2008). Phonological development and disorders in Icelandic-speaking children. PhD, Newcastle University. (with Fiona Gibbon as external examiner).

Cristina McKean (2010). Investigating the development of a developmental disorder: Mapping the trajectory of lexical development in Specific Language Disorder. PhD, Newcastle University. (with Shula Chiat as external examiner).


2010-2012: Qatar National Research Fund: Baseline Data for Arabic Acquisition with Clinical Applications. Co-PI with Kimary Shahin (Qatar University), Haifa Al-Buainain (Qatar University), Abdulsalam Al-Haidary (McGill University), Feda Al-Tamimi (Jordan University of Science and Technology). Budget: $975,687

2009-2011: ESRC large grant: Psychological significance of production templates in phonological and lexical advance: A cross-linguistic study. Co-PI with Marilyn Vihman (York), Tamar Keren-Portnoy (York), Rory DePaolis (James Maddieson), and Sophie Wauquier (CNRS Paris). Budget: £592,104

2009-2011: ESRC Seminar Series (Co-PI with Carolyn Letts): Assessment of children from a bi- or multilingual context at risk for language impairment.. Budget: £14.950.

ESRC First Grant: Phonological acquisition in multilingual settings: the case of Lebanese Arabic, £363,525.96

Agence Nationale de la Recherche, France. 'Construction des connaissances langagières, diversité des usages, contextes sociolinguistiques'. Named UK co-investigator with Paul Foulkes (University of York), Gerry Docherty (University of Newcastle upon Tyne), James Scobbie (Queen Margaret University), Jennifer Smith (University of Glasgow), and Dominic Watt (University of York). Award: 48,170 euro.

ESRC seminar series (with Carolyn Letts): Assessment and Management of Children with English as an Additional Language who have Communication Impairments: Finding a New Way Forward, £15,325.98

2003-2005: Arts and Humanities Research Fund 10: Acquisition of geminate consonants by Arabic children, £920

British Academy Travel grants: 15th ICPhS 2003; 75th ASA Meeting, 2004, 11th ICPLA conference


Undergraduate Teaching

SPE1024/SPE8103: Phonetics I: Speaker, Speech and Language
SPE2024/SPE8210: Phonetics II: Gesture, Segment, Prosody
SPE206: Speech Perception and Production

Postgraduate Teaching

SPE8016/SPE8020: Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology
SPE2025: Linguistics II: Sociolinguistics and Bilingualism