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John Kingston


John Kingston received a BA with honors and an MA in linguistics from the University of Chicago in 1976 and 1977, respectively, and he received a PhD in linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985, with the dissertation "The phonetics and phonology of the timing of oral and glottal events,'' supervised by John Ohala. He taught as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas, Austin from 1984-1986 and as an assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at Cornell University from 1986-1990. He took up an assistant professorship in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1990.

Kingston's specialization is phonetics and its relationship to phonology. In an effort to introduce rigorous experimental methods into research on phonological questions,  he founded the Laboratory Phonology Conference and accompanying proceedings series in 1987 jointly with Mary Beckman of the Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University. His research since coming to the University of Massachusetts has focused primarily on how listeners perceive speech and how that behavior influences synchronic phonological representations and processes as well as sound change.


Kingston, J., Kawahara, S., Chambless, D., Key, M., Mash, D., and Watsky, S. (2014). Context effects as auditory contrast. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76, 1437-1472.

de Lacy, P. and Kingston, J. (2013). Synchronic explanation. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 31, 287-355.

Kingston, J. (2011). Tonogenesis. M. van Oostendorp, C. J. Ewen, E. Hume, and K. Rice (eds.) Blackwell Companion to Phonology, v. 4, (pp. 2304-2334). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

Kingston, J., Kawahara, S., Chambless, D., Mash, D., and Brenner-Alsop, E. (2009). Contextual effects on the perception of duration, Journal of Phonetics, 37, 297- 320.

Kingston, J. (2008). Lenition (plenary address), L. Colantoni and J. Steele, (eds.), Proceedings of the Third Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology, (pp. 1-31), Cascadilla Press.

Kingston, J., Diehl, R. L., Kirk, C. J., and Castleman, W. A. (2008). On the internal perceptual structure of distinctive features: The [voice] contrast, Journal of Phonetics, 36, 28-54.

Kingston, J. (2007). The phonetics-phonology interface, P. de Lacy (ed.), Handbook of Phonology, (pp. 435-456), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Kingston, J. (2005). The phonetics of Athabaskan tonogenesis, S. Hargus and K. Rice (eds.), Athabaskan Prosody, (pp. 137-184), Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Kingston, J. (2003). Learning foreign vowels, Language and Speech, 46, 295-349.

Kingston, J., Macmillan, N. A., Dickey, L.W., Thorburn, R., and Bartels, C. (1997). Integrality in the perception of tongue root position and voice quality in vowels, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 101, 1696-1709.

Kingston, J., and Diehl, R. L. (1994). Phonetic knowledge, Language, 70, 419-454.

Kingston, J. (1990). Articulatory binding, J. Kingston and M.E. Beckman (eds.), Papers in Laboratory Phonology I: Between the Grammar and Physics of Speech, (pp. 406-434), Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.