Robert Lennon

Linguistics Researcher

About Me

I’m a Linguistics Researcher at the Phonetics Lab at Lancaster University. My research is in sociolinguistics, phonetics and speech perception, and I’m interested in how the social aspects of speech communities affect how speech sounds are produced and perceived.

My expertise is in Scottish English (especially phonetic variation in Glasgow), rhoticity, and cross-dialect perception. I also have some knowledge of perception of speech tempo and phonetic reduction.

I am most skilled in: Sociolinguistics teaching, R, Praat and Perception experiments

Click here for my CV.

Education

MSc Linguistics

University of Glasgow, 2013

Thesis: The effect of experience in cross-dialect perception: Parsing /r/ in Glaswegian

MA English Language

University of Glasgow, 2012

Dissertation: A real-time sociophonetic study of postvocalic /r/ in the speech of schoolchildren in Bearsden

Research Experience

Research Associate

Lancaster University

2020 - present

Changing /r/ accents? Towards a sociophonological understanding of sound change

We’re using a variety of methods to investigate residual rhoticity in Blackburn, Lancashire (where many speakers still pronounce the /r/ in words like car and third), examining the mechanisms by which it is changing over time.

Research Fellow

University of Leeds

2017 - 2020

Speech tempo perception and missing sounds

In this project we investigated the link between laboratory measurements of speech tempo and how listeners perceive speaking rate. I designed and ran a suite of speech perception experiments, maintained a large phonetically-aligned corpus, and contributed to analysis, conference presentations and journal submissions.

Research Assistant

University of Glasgow

2012 - 2017

While completing my Phd I worked on multiple funded projects run by researchers from different universities. Tasks included:

  • Statistical analysis, transcription work
  • Writing contributions to research outputs
  • Participant recruitment and recording

Publications

Plug, L., Smith, R., & Lennon, R. (2020). Listeners’ sensitivity to syllable complexity in speech tempo perception. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody. Tokyo: University of Tokyo.

Lennon, R., Plug, L. & Gold, E. (2019). A comparison of multiple speech tempo measures: Inter-correlations and discriminating power. Proceedings of the 19th ICPhS. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.

Plug, L., Lennon, R. & Smith, R.(2019). Measured and perceived speech tempo: Canonical vs surface syllable and phone rates. Proceedings of the 19th ICPhS. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.

Lennon, R., Smith, R. & Stuart-Smith, J. (2015). An acoustic investigation of postvocalic /r/ variants in two sociolects of Glaswegian. Proceedings of the 18th ICPhS. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

Stuart-Smith, J., Lennon, R., MacDonald, R., Robertson, D., Soskuthy, M., Jose, B. & Evers, L. (2015). A dynamic acoustic view of real-time change in word-final liquids in spontaneous Glaswegian. Proceedings of the 18th ICPhS. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

Selected talks

Phonetics Lab, Aarhus University

May 2021

The perception of variable rhoticity in Blackburn, Lancashire: Evidence from an online study. (Invited speaker)

Phonetics Lab, Lancaster University

November 2020

Acoustics and perception of Glaswegian /r/. (Invited speaker)

Speech Prosody 10, University of Tokyo

May 2020

BAAP, University of York

April 2020 (postponed)

Quantifying speech tempo: Does the choice of measurement matter?

Rate and Rhythm in Speech Recognition, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

December 2019

UKLVC 12, Queen Mary University/University College London

September 2019

IAFPA 28, Istanbul

July 2019

Comparing alternative speech tempo measures: Inter-correlations and discriminating powers.

Speech Science Forum seminar, University College London

October 2018

BAAP, University of Kent

April 2018

Human Language Processing Lab, University of Rochester

February 2017

Glasgow Smiles Better? Long-term and short-term adaptation to accents. (Invited speaker, co-presented with Rachel Smith)

LabPhon15, Cornell University

July 2016

R-atics 5, Fryske Akademy, Leeuwarden

May 2016

Derhoticisation in Glasgow: Do listeners adapt after short term exposure?

AMLaP 20, University of Edinburgh

September 2014

The effect of exposure in cross-dialect perception: Hearing ambiguous /r/ variants in Glaswegian.

BAAP, University of Oxford

April 2014

Increased exposure can aid perception of ambiguous /r/ variants in Glasgow. (Eugenie Henderson prize, Best Oral Presentation)

R-atics 4, GIPSA-Lab, Grenoble

October 2013

The effect of experience in cross-dialect perception: Parsing /r/ in Glaswegian.