Hello and welcome to my website
My expertise is in phonetics, the science of speech
My background is in theory, but for over 20 years now I have been fascinated with two important practical applications:
- forensic transcription – how to ensure reliable interpretation of indistinct covert recordings used as evidence in criminal trials
- speaking and listening in multicultural communities – improving spoken communication between native and non-native speakers of English
What on earth do these two topics have to do with each other?
On the surface, very little. But deep down, quite a lot. Both suffer the effects of confident false beliefs about speech that are widely accepted as common knowledge by our society.
So as well as trying to offer practical help with practical applications, I have also tried to gain some theoretical understanding of the nature of those false beliefs – how they come about, what exactly they involve, and, of course, how we might be able to replace them with more reliable knowledge.
That’s led me in two more directions
One is Rethink Speech – a site devoted to helping our society unlearn false beliefs about the nature of speech and how it works.
The other is a continuation of the project that has occupied me since my student days: developing a valid and practically useful theory that I call Cognitive Phonetics: the science of how people think about speech.
Cognitive Phonetics is the main focus of this particular website you are on now — if you have got this far.
And it too has two main parts — yes, all very binary, especially for someone who rejects the view that the mind is a computer.
So I hope you will join me here as I indulge in my two favourite pastimes:
- thinking about speech
- speaking about thinking