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Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language (CASL) Research Centre

James M Scobbie MA(Hons) MSc PhD
Professor of Speech Science


I've been at QMU since 1993 - and these photos confirm it gets more fun as the years roll by. You'll get a complete set of recent and in-press publications (some in pdf form) here or preferably in qmu's EResearch repository.


Funded projects on which I am or have been Principal Investigator or joint PI:

  • Seeing the Links in the Speaker-Hearer Chain: an investigation of the transmission of articulatory variation using Ultrasound tongue imaging (2011-2014). [link to official ESRC site]
  • ULTRAX: Real-time tongue tracking for speech therapy using ultrasound (2011-2015). [link to ULTRAX-SPEECH project website, EPSRC site[Official EPSRC site for EP/I027696/1] [ULTRAX site] EPSRC's Healthcare Partnerships Programme.
  • Looking variation and change in the mouth: developing the sociolinguistic potential of Ultrasound Tongue Imaging (ESRC RES-000-22-2032) Jan 2007-Mar 2008. [link to official ESRC site]
  • An Edinburgh Speech Production Facility (EPSRC) April 2007-March 2010.
  • Facilities for integrated vocal tract, face, and upper limb movement and acoustic energy data capture, and (inter)disciplinary speech and functional motor control analysis”, (SHEFC Strategic Research Infrastructure Grant SRIF-3) (2006-2008).
  • Linguistic Sound Systems: Phonetics, Phonology, and their Interface (ESRC Personal Research Fellowship R000 271195) (2001-2004) [link to official ESRC site]
  • Phonetic analysis of intractable childhood speech disorders (Gannochy Trust) and Telespeech Forth Valley (Gannochy Trust & Lloyds TSB) (2000-2003)
  • The Scottish vowel-length rule: the phonetics, phonology and acquisition of a marginal contrast (ESRC Research Grant) (1997-2001) [link to official ESRC site]

As joint grant-holder, co-I, mentor or similar

  • UltraPhonix (2015-2016), funded by the CSO - [ultraphonix mini-site]
  • Dynamic Dialects (2014-2015), funded by the AHRC [Official AHRC news release]
  • Mentor to Dr Patrjcya Strycharczuk for BA postdoctoral fellowship (2013-2016): Contrasts and categories in articulation and perception.
  • Seeing Speech, funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland - the website is at
  • Mentor to Dr Adam Baker for BA postdoctoral fellowship: A biomechanical tongue model for speech production based on MRI live speaker data (2011).
  • "Open Mouthed or Stiff Upper Lip? Exploring language-Specific Settings in English German Bilinguals" Sonja Schaeffler (PI), Ineke Mennen and James M Scobbie. 2008 to 2010. [official esrc site]

And, as research fellow

  • Cluster acquisition (with references) (MRC Research Project) (1993-1997)
  • Phonetic analysis of intractable childhood speech disorders / Telespeech Forth Valley (2001)


Phonetics, phonology, doctoral


Basically I am a Labphonista with interests in the acquisition of phonetics and phonology, allophony alternation and contrast, sociolinguistic laboratory phonology, child speech, covert contrast, constraint-based phonology, Sardinian lenition, Scottish English, articulatory phonetics, ultrasound analysis of the tongue, EMA (electromagnetic articulography).

Postgraduate Supervision - for theses see QMU's etheses repository

  • Joanne Cleland (2010) Speech and prosody in developmental disorders: Autism and Down's Syndrome. PhD, QMU. [was Joanne McCann] [pdf on e-theses]
  • Leila Mackie (2010) The relationship between language skills, social cognition and externalising behaviour in Primary school aged boys. PhD thesis, QMU. [affiliated to Centre for Integrated Healthcare Research] [pdf on e-theses]
  • Esther de Leeuw (2009) When your native language sounds foreign: a phonetic investigation into first language attrition. PhD, QMU. [pdf on e-theses]
  • Natalia Zharkova (2007) An investigation of coarticulation resistance in speech production using ultrasound. PhD, QMU. [pdf on e-theses]
  • Olga B. Gordeeva (2005) Language Interaction in the Bilingual Acquisition of Sound Structure: a longitudinal study of vowel quality, duration and vocal effort in pre-school children speaking Scottish English and Russian. PhD, QMUC. [pdf] and [pdf on e-theses ]
  • Susanne Fuchs (2005) Articulatory Correlates of the Voicing Contrast in Alveolar Obstruent Production in German. PhD, QMUC. [Revised version published by ZAS and available online there, and for convenience here]
  • Richard Mullooly (2004) An Electromagnetic-Articulograph Study of Alternating [r] and the Effects of Emphatic Stress on the Articulation of Rhotic Consonants. PhD, QMUC. [pdf]
  • Ben M. Matthews (2001) On variability and the acquisition of vowels in normally developing Scottish children (18-36 months). PhD, QMUC. [abstract] [available online as zip]
  • Catherine Mayo (2000) The Relationship between Phonemic Awareness and Cue Weighting in Speech Perception: Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional Studies. PhD, QMUC. Cassie's home page.
  • Current students: Louise Cotton, Connie Heyde, Liz Ross, Zoe Roxburgh, Sarah Thomas, Gill Walker, Evelyn Weir.

Selected Publications (& Conference Papers which are available online)

see for some selected papers and Google Scholar for citations

Phonetics/Phonology Interface: Scottish Vowel Length Rule, External Sandhi, EMA

  • Work on /l/-sandhi, also with Marianne Pouplier and Alan Wrench, in EMA and EPG
  • Work on /r/ sandhi, also with Richard Mullooly
  • Work on other sandhi systems, eg assimilation in English and Sardinian

Phonetics/Phonology Interface: Child Speech Disorders, Covert Contrast, Acquisition

  • Scobbie, J.M., Wood, S.E. and Wrench, A.A. Advances in EPG for treatment and research: an illustrative case study. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics 18: 373-389.
  • Scobbie, James M., Fiona Gibbon, William J. Hardcastle & Paul Fletcher (2000)
    Covert contrast as a stage in the acquisition of phonetics and phonology. In Michael Broe and Janet Pierrehumbert (eds.) Papers in Laboratory Phonology V: Language Acquisition and the Lexicon, 194-207. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Scobbie, James M (2002)
    Flexibility in the Face of Incompatible English VOT Systems. Oral paper presented at Eighth Conference on Laboratory Phonology (Labphon 8) "Varieties of Phonological Competence", Yale University, 27 - 30 June 2002.
  • Bates, Sally A.R., Jocelynne M.M. Watson and James M. Scobbie (2002)
    Context conditioned error patterns in disordered systems. In Martin Ball and Fiona E. Gibbon (eds.) Vowel Disorders, 145-185. London: Butterworth Heinemann. [partial pdf]
  • Scobbie, James M. (2000)
    Onset-rime coarticulation in the production of /dai/ and /stai/ by four year old Scottish English speaking children: preliminary results. Les Cahiers de l'ICP, Bulletin de la Communication Parlée 5, 131-141. [pdf]
  • Hewlett, Nigel, Ben Matthews & James M. Scobbie (1999)
    Vowel duration in Scottish English speaking children. Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Volume 3: 2157-2160. [pdf]
  • Scobbie, James M., Fiona Gibbon, William J. Hardcastle & Paul Fletcher (1997)
    Covert contrast and the acquisition of phonetics and phonology. In W. Ziegler and K. Deger (eds.) Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics. Chapter 17, pp147-156. London: Whurr Publishers.
  • Scobbie, James M., Fiona Gibbon, William J. Hardcastle and Paul Fletcher (1997) 
    Longitudinal phonological and phonetic analyses of two cases of disordered /s/+stop cluster acquisition. In Antonella Sorace Caroline Heycock, and Richard Shillcock  (eds.) Proceedings of the GALA '97 Conference on Language Acquisition, pp278-283.[pdf]
  • Scobbie, James M (1998)
    Interactions between the acquisition of phonetics and phonology. In M. Catherine Gruber, Derrick Higgins, Kenneth Olson and Tamra Wysocki (eds.) Papers from the 34th Annual Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Volume II: The Panels. 343-358. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society. [pdf of draft]
  • Scobbie, James M., William J. Hardcastle, Paul Fletcher & Fiona Gibbon (1995)
    Consonant clusters in disordered L1 acquisition: a longitudinal acoustic study. In K Elenius and P Branderud (eds.) Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Volume 2:706-709. Published by the Congress organisers at KTH and Stockholm University.[pdf]

Theoretical Phonology: Contrast Categories & Inventories, Declarative Constraint-Based Phonology

  • Scobbie, James M., and Jane Stuart-Smith (2006) Quasi-phonemic contrast and the fuzzy inventory: Examples from Scottish English. QMUC Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers, WP-8.
  • Scobbie, James M. (1997)
    Autosegmental Representation in a Declarative Constraint-based Framework. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics, Laurence Horn (ed.).
  • Scobbie, James M., John S. Coleman & Steven Bird (1996)
    Key aspects of declarative phonology. In Jacques Durand & Bernard Laks (eds.) Current Trends in Phonology. Volume 2, pp 685-709. Salford: European Studies Research Institute, University of Salford.
  • Scobbie, James M. (1993)
    Constraint violation and conflict from the perspective of Declarative Phonology. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 38 pp 155-169. Reprinted in Charles Kreidler (ed.) Phonology: Critical Concepts. Volume IV. From Rules to Constraints. New York: Routledge. 2000.

Honours projects Supervision up to 2004

  • Kate Bramley (2004) QMUC: A comparison of EPG and ultrasound measurements of tongue positioning and co-articulation in stop + vowel syllables.
  • Tracy Norquay (2003) QMUC: Is the consonantal system of Orcadian changing? An apparent-time group study.
  • Rosie Beattie (2003) QMUC: (Mis)perceptions of words spoken by a London area speaker by Scottish children.
  • Nicola Arthur (2001) QMUC: Accent accommodation in a 9 year old child.
  • Marie Cluness (2000) QMUC: Shetlandic dialect under different parental influences.
  • Fiona Klemm (2000) QMUC: Spectral analysis of stop bursts in /st/ and /sk/ of children with phonological disorder.
  • Fiona Kirkpatrick (1998) QMUC: A dialect description of present-day Orcadian phonology in young Orcadian adults.
  • Anne McPhail (1998), University of Edinburgh: longitudinal acoustic analysis of voice onset after stops and clusters in a case of phonological disorder .
  • Lesley Baker (1998), University of Edinburgh: longitudinal acoustic analysis of F2 transitions in a case of phonological disorder.
  • Christine MacKenzie (1994), QMUC: An investigation into the phonetic and phonological development of normally developing 2;00 - 2;06 year old children, who are acquiring the Lewis variety of Gaelic.




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