Professor Elinor Payne

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

Teaching and Research

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

After undergraduate studies in Italian and Spanish and an MPhil in linguistics, Professor 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.

I am on Special Research Leave throughout 2021-2022, and on Sabbatical Leave throughout 2022-2023


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 other aspects of prosody, for a range of languages, including how infants acquire these. Her current research investigates prosodic and phonetic variation and convergence arising from societal multilingualism and languages in contact, in particular: in Indian English (as spoken in India and the diaspora); in Cypriot varieties of Greek, Turkish and Arabic; and in Venetan dialect vs the regional Italian of the Veneto.

Current/recent collaborations and fellowships 

Research projects and funding


Mapping Cypriot Prosody: a geo-historical acoustic investigation of the effects of insularity at a linguistic crossroads

The Prosody and Phonetics of Venetan dialect and regional Italian

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

World Futures: Multimodal Viewpoint Construction by Russian International Media 


The Acquisition of Consonant Timing (ACT)

Acquisition of Prosody in L1 (APriL)



Select Recent Publications

Maxwell, O. and E. Payne (forthcoming 2022) “Investigating (rhythm) variation in Indian English: an integrated approach”, in Fuchs, R. (Ed.) Speech Rhythm in L2 and Learner Varieties of English, Springer

Garmann, Nina, G., P. Hansen, E. Holm, H. G. Simonsen, E. Tengesdal, B. Post, & E. Payne (2021) “Vocalic intrusions in Consonants Clusters in Child-Directed vs. Adult-Directed Speech” Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 2782

Payne, E. (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

Garmann, N., H. Simonsen, P. Hansen, B. Post, & E. Payne, (2020) “Cross-linguistic variation in word-initial cluster production in adult and child language: evidence from English and Norwegian”, J. Child Language, 48:1, 1-30

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