Linguistics at Newcastle

Staff Profile

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

- 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

- Personal tutor for the MSc in Language Pathology students



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

  • 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


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

Postgraduate Supervision

PhD studentship applications for 2019: Applications are encouraged for projects relating to the themes above. Overview of the research area:

Languages and varieties are acquired in context, and aspects of the social, cultural and physical environment become part of what is learned and stored at different levels of the grammar. This raises the question of how we acquire more than one language or variety, and how these are processed and stored at the phonological and lexical level. How do we represent our languages/varieties? In cases of bi-dialectism/bilingualism, are our varieties/languages always active, even when conversing in one? How do we process non-native speech? Are our own lexical representations influenced by different varieties when interacting with native and non-native speakers? The research lends itself to a range of behavioural and non-behavioural methodologies, including perception and production tasks, eye-tracking, EEG, etc. and to working with populations of all ages and language backgrounds.

The deadline for applications for the Northern Bridge AHRC doctoral training partnership is Wednesday 9th January 2019. 

The deadline for applications for the NINEDTP ESRC doctoral training partnerships is Friday 18th January 2019.


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


Current PhD students:

  1. Noura AlAjroush: Phonological acquisition in Saudi Arabic.
  2. Yiling Chen: 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.
  3. Syuhada Faizal: Phonological representation and English spelling in bilinguals with different language backgrounds: A cross-linguistic comparison of Malay, Chinese, and Tamil Singaporean bilinguals.
  4. Saleh Ghadanfari: Gradient syllable weight in Arabic.
  5. Azza Al Kendi: The acquisition of Arabic by Omani domestic helpers
  6. Maha Jasim: Pharyngeal spread in Iraqi Arabic.
  7. Gada Mahmoud: Investigating the role of bilingualism and social context in language mixing among simultaneous bilingual children.
  8. Daniel McCarthy: The processing of formant transitions in the recognition of place of articulation.
  9. Nief Al-Ghamdi: Voicing patterns in Saudi Arabic
  10. Wael Al-Murashi: Static and dynamic cues in Saudi Arabic vowels.
  11. Caitlin Halfacre: Variation and changes in RP


Previous PhD students:

  1. Abdulkareem Ahmed (2018): Phonological variation and change in Mesopotamia: A studof accent levelling in thdialect of Mosul (co-supervised with Damien Hall).
  2. 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).
  3. Haifa Albadry (2017). Using Mobile Technology to Foster Autonomy among Language Learners (co-supervised with Scott Windeatt).
  4. Patchanok Kitikanan (2016). L2 English fricative production by Thai learners (co-supervised with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  5. 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).
  6. Hisham Al Qadi (2015): English speakers’ errors in writing Arabic as an L2 (with Vivian Cook).
  7. Shaima Al-Qattan (2014): Phonological acquisition in Kuwaiti Arabic.
  8. Isao Hara (2014): An acoustic analysis of vowel sequences in Japanese (with Gerry Docherty).
  9. Wasan AlSiraih (2013): Voice quality in Iraqi Arabic (with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  10. Yousef Elramli (2012): Assimilation in the phonology of a Libyan Arabic dialect (with SJ Hannahs).
  11. Reenu Punnoose (2011): A phonetic and phonological investigation of Rhotics in Malaylam (with SJ Hannahs).
  12. Hussin Kriba (2011): Perception and production of pharygealized consonants in Libyan Arabic (with Jalal Al-Tamimi).
  13. Hanan Taqi (2010): Two dialects, three generations: dialect contact in Kuwait (with Karen Corrigan).
  14. Albashir Ahmed (2008): Production and Perception of Libyan Arabic Vowels.
  15. 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).



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


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