School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Professor Ghada Khattab

Professor of Phonetics and Phonology



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 Professor in Phonetics and Phonology.


Roles and Responsibilities

- Director of the Phonetics and Phonology Lab

- Convenor for the Cross-Faculty Phonetics and Phonology Research Group

- Postgraduate Research Student (PGR) Director for the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences 

- Pathway Leader for Linguistics for the NINEDTP and Nothern Bridge Doctoral Training Centres

- Associate Editor, Phonetica



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.

2002-2013 Speech & Language Section, University of Newcastle. 
Phonetics Lecturer

2013-2020: Speech & Language Section, University of Newcastle.

Senior Lecturer



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

Laboratory Phonology


Internal Honours and Awards

  • 2017-2020: Cross-Faculty Phonetics and Phonology Research Group: £10,000.
  • 2016: Crills SDF: Collaborating on the Design of an Arabic Megacorpus. Collaboration with Karen Corrigan from ELL to pilot naturalistic data collection and transcription in Arabic contexts with the aim of identifying any major pitfalls prior to applying for a large grant: £4990.
  • 2015: HASS (Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) Faculty Research Fund: The role of isolated words in early phonological acquisition: £3,996.
  • 2014: Crills Strategic Development funds for research collaboration and infrastructure: “A cross linguistic comparison of laterals using Ultrasound Tongue Imaging (UTI)”. £1520. (Collaboration with Danielle Turton)
  • 2012: HASS Faculty Fund for Infrastructure: state-of-the-art articulatory and recording equipment for the phonetics laboratory: £40,000.
  • 2011: Crills Strategic Development funds for research collaboration and infrastructure: Maintaining the Crills Online Resources for Phonetics Practice. £1500.
  • 2010: HASS Faculty Research Development Fund: £5000.
  • 2009: Crills (Centre for Research in Language and Linguistic Science) Strategic Development funds for research collaboration and infrastructure: “The DECTE Project: Creating a Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English”. Collaboration with Isa Buchstaller and Karen Corrigan and Gerry Docherty. Budget: £1830.
  • 2006: UTLC (University Teaching and Learning Committee) INNOVATION FUND 2006: Online resource for practical phonetics (with Gerry Docherty)
  • 2004-2005: AHRF10 (University of Newcastle Arts and Humanities Research Fund): Acquisition of geminate consonants by Arabic children. Budget: £920.



Arabic, English and French



Research Interests

Monolingual and bilingual phonological acquisition; accent/dialect acquisition; L2 phonology; bilingualism and cognition; speech production; and Arabic phonetics and phonology


Research Roles

Member of the College of Peer Reviewers, ESRC

Associate Editor, Phonetica

Convenor, cross-Faculty Phonetics and Phonology Research Group

PGR Director, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences



2020-2023: ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund: Language development in Arabic-speaking children in the early years: Tackling the roots of academic and social inequalities. PI with Caroline Floccia, Plymouth, Cristina Mckean, Newcastle, Camille Messarra, Saint Joseph University, Khalid Al-Shdifat, Jordan University of Science and Technology, and Thair Odeh, Birzeit University. Budget: £1,776,108.

2016: Kuwaiti Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences: The first Standardized Assessment for Arabic Articulation and Phonology. PI with Shaima Al-Qattan, Sheikh Salem Al Ali Centre for Audiology & Speech Therapy, Kuwait. Budget: KD104,263.

2011-2014: Norwegian Research Network on Phonological and lexical acquisition in mono- and bilingual children in the Nordic and the Baltic States. With Kristian Emil Kristoffersen, University of Oslo as project manager and participants from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and the UK. Budget: NOK 900,000.

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.

2007-2010: ESRC First Grant: Phonological acquisition in multilingual settings: the case of Lebanese Arabic, £363,525.96

2007-2010: 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.

2006-2008: 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

Current PhD students:

  1. Noura AlAjroush: Phonological acquisition in Saudi Arabic.
  2. Saleh Ghadanfari: Gradient syllable weight in Arabic.
  3. Azza Al Kendi: The acquisition of Arabic by Omani domestic helpers
  4. Gada Mahmoud: Investigating the role of bilingualism and social context in language mixing among simultaneous bilingual children.
  5. Nief Al-Ghamdi: Voicing patterns in Saudi Arabic
  6. Wael Al-Murashi: Static and dynamic cues in Saudi Arabic vowels.
  7. Caitlin Halfacre: Variation and changes in RP
  8. Sarah AlGhabban: High Variability Phonetics Training with Saudi Arabic learners of English
  9. Andreas Krug: The roles of familiarity, intelligibility and attitude in the processing of native and non-native accents
  10. Badr Alshammari: Emphasis spread in Saudi Arabic
  11. Bilal Alsharif: An ultrasound study of guttural sounds in Jordanian Arabic.
  12. Abdulrahman Dallak: The Laryngeal specification of Fricatives in Arabic

Previous PhD students:

  1. Maha Jasim: Tafxiːm in the vowels of Muslawi Qəltu and Baghdadi Gilit dialects of Mesopotamian Arabic
  2. Yiling Chen (2019): An assessment of the effectiveness of the automatic speech recognition program Tell Me More for discourse intonation improvement of Chinese college students in English major (co-supervised with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  3. Syuhada Faizal (2019): Phonological representation and English spelling in bilinguals with different language backgrounds: A cross-linguistic comparison of Malay, Chinese, and Tamil Singaporean bilinguals (co-supervised with Cristina McKean).
  4. Daniel McCarthy: The processing of formant transitions in the recognition of place of articulation (co-supervised with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  5. Abdulkareem Ahmed (2018): Phonological variation and change in Mesopotamia: A studof accent levelling in thdialect of Mosul (co-supervised with Damien Hall).
  6. Ourooba Shetewi (2018). Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Variation in a Dialect Contact Situation: The Case of Palestinian Children and Adolescents in Syria. (co-supervised with Karen Corrigan).
  7. Haifa Albadry (2017). Using Mobile Technology to Foster Autonomy among Language Learners (co-supervised with Scott Windeatt).
  8. Patchanok Kitikanan (2016). L2 English fricative production by Thai learners (co-supervised with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  9. Katharina Nimz (2015). Vowel perception and production of Polish learners of L2 German: An experimental phonetic approach with special consideration of orthography as influencing factor (with Adamantios Gafos).
  10. Hisham Al Qadi (2015): English speakers’ errors in writing Arabic as an L2 (with Vivian Cook).
  11. Shaima Al-Qattan (2014): Phonological acquisition in Kuwaiti Arabic.
  12. Isao Hara (2014): An acoustic analysis of vowel sequences in Japanese (with Gerry Docherty).
  13. Wasan AlSiraih (2013): Voice quality in Iraqi Arabic (with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  14. Yousef Elramli (2012): Assimilation in the phonology of a Libyan Arabic dialect (with SJ Hannahs).
  15. Reenu Punnoose (2011): A phonetic and phonological investigation of Rhotics in Malaylam (with SJ Hannahs).
  16. Hussin Kriba (2011): Perception and production of pharygealized consonants in Libyan Arabic (with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  17. Hanan Taqi (2010): Two dialects, three generations: dialect contact in Kuwait (with Karen Corrigan).
  18. Albashir Ahmed (2008): Production and Perception of Libyan Arabic Vowels.
  19. Faisal Al Jasser (2008). Phonotactic probability and phonotactic constraints: processing and lexical segmentation by Arabic learners of English as a foreign language (with Martha Young-Scholten).



Undergraduate Teaching

SPE1053: Linguistics and Phonetics I

SPE2052: Linguistics and Phonetics II

Postgraduate Teaching

SPE8151: Phonetics I: Speaker, Speech and Language 

SPE8210: Phonetics II: Gesture, Segment, Prosody

SPE8154: Child Development and Speech and Language Acquisition

SPE8011: Fundamental Issues in Phonetics and Phonoloy