Dr Elinor Payne

MA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab); PGDip (SOAS)

Teaching and Research

Fellow, St Hilda's College
Associate Professor in Phonetics and Phonology, Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics

After undergraduate studies in Italian and Spanish and an MPhil in linguistics, Dr Payne specialised in experimental phonetics for her doctoral research, with a thesis on Italian consonant gemination. Following a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (also in Cambridge), she was a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Phonetics at UCL.

Prior to coming to Oxford, she also spent a period working in Government (primarily on International Trade Policy), including a secondment to the European Commission, and undertook postgraduate studies in Politics at SOAS.

She tutors and lectures in phonetics and phonology to undergraduates and postgraduates, and supervises doctoral students in topics related to speech prosody, phonetic variation and influences on phonological structure.


Her overarching research interest is speech variation - how it arises, what shapes it and how speakers use it - and its relationship to phonology. Within this frame, she has worked on speech timing and prosody, in adult and child speech, for a range of languages. Current research interests include the effects of speech context on prosody (especially who the speaker is talking to) and variation rising from societal multilingualism and contact linguistics, looking in particular at variation and convergence in Indian English, as spoken in India and the diaspora.

Current/recent collaborations, fellowships and research projects

Contact phonetics and prosody: Indian English in India and the diaspora

Investigating variation and change in Indian English, including transfer effects from Indian languages. Funded by John Fell Fund, Australian Research Council (via COEDL), Leverhulme. In collaboration with Olga Maxwell (Melbourne).

The Acquisition of Consonant Timing (ACT)

Investigating how children acquire the prosodic-phonetic biases of their ambient language (comparing English and Norwegian). Funded by the British Academy and the Centre for Multilingualism in Society Across the Lifespan (University of Oslo). In collaboration with Nina Garmann (Oslo Met), Brechtje Post (Cambridge), Hanne Gram Simonsen (Oslo).

Acquisition of Prosody in L1 (APriL)

Investigating the acquisition of rhythm and intonation in Catalan, Spanish and English. Funded by the British Academy and the Batista i Roca Foundation. In collaboration with Lluisa Astruc (Open University), Brechtje Post (Cambridge), Pilar Prieto (Pompeu Fabra), Maria del Mar Vanrell (Universitat des Illes Balears).



Select Recent Publications

Payne, E. (forthcoming 2021) “Comparing and deconstructing speech rhythm across Romance languages” in Gabriel, C., Gess, R. and Meisenburg, T. (eds.) Manual of Romance phonetics and phonology. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter

Maxwell, O. and E. Payne (forthcoming 2021) “Investigating (rhythm) variation in Indian English: an integrated approach”, in Fuchs, R. (Ed.) Speech Rhythm in L2 and Learner Varieties of English, Springer

Gram Garman, N. H. Simonsen, P. Hansen, B. Post, & E. Payne, (2020) “Vowel epenthesis in Norwegian and English clusters: a comparative study in adult and child speech” (Journal of Child Language)

Payne, E. and O. Maxwell (2019) “Tense-Lax Contrasts in Indian English Vowels: transfer effects from L1 Telugu at the Phonetics-Phonology Interface” Proceedings of ICPhS, Melbourne

Sabev, M. and E. Payne (2019) “Transfer of vowel reduction in Turkish-Bulgarian speakers” Proceedings of ICPhS, Melbourne

Post, B. & E. Payne (2018) “Speech rhythm in development: What is the child acquiring” in P. Prieto and N. Esteve-Gibert (eds) Prosodic Development in First Language Acquisition, Benjamins, 125-144

Maxwell, O., E. Payne and R. Billington (2018) “Homogeneity vs heterogeneity in Indian English: Investigating influences of L1 on f0 range”, Proceedings of Interspeech 2018, Hyderabad, India

Payne, E. and O. Maxwell (2018) “Durational variability as a marker of prosodic structure in Indian English(es): temporal parameters”, Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2018, Poznań, Poland

Maxwell, O. and E. Payne (2018) “Pitch accent types and peak alignment of rising accents in Indian English(es)”, Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2018, Poznań, Poland

Wang, Y and E. Payne (2018) “Investigating prosody in music and speech”, Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2018, Poznań, Poland

Payne, E., B. Post, N. Gram Garmann, H. Gram Simonsen (2017) “The acquisition of long consonants in Norwegian” in H. Kubozono (Ed.) Geminate Consonants, OUP, Oxford

Payne, E. (2016) “Prosodic-phonetic biases and the construction of phonological markedness” in M. Lind (Ed) Festschrift for Hanne Gram Simonsen, Novus


Dr Elinor Payne, St Hilda's College