Children's speech, community diversity and the emergence of sound change

Children's speech, community diversity and the emergence of sound change

Programs Available


Reference Number


Opening Date

10 Apr 2019 11pm AEST 

Closing Date

15 Nov 2019 11pm AEDT 

Scholarship available to



Macquarie University is offering a Domestic PhD scholarship (3 years) in Phonetics/Speech Science through the Australian Research Council Discovery Project “Children's speech, community diversity and the emergence of sound change” awarded to Prof Felicity Cox (2019-2021) and Prof Jonathan Harrington (Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing,  Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich).

This project aims to explain how children's speech processing adapts to cultural and linguistic diversity and how such adaptation may seed sound change in language. The project will examine how children rapidly and authentically acquire the intricately nuanced accents of their communities. One of the major goals is to advance theories of language variation and change by providing new insights into the forces that shape the sounds of language. An understanding of how children's speech patterns develop and ultimately converge to local norms has implications for the social integration of second language learning children, refugee/asylum seekers, and clinical populations.

The suitable applicant should have disciplinary background in phonetics. The specific topic of the candidate's research project is negotiable. Potential projects may include:

  • acoustic examination of select phonetic features of Australian English used by children from Arabic, Mandarin or English language backgrounds
  • analysis of speech processing in children from culturally diverse vs culturally homogeneous rural/urban communities (with the possibility of research involving refugee/asylum seeker populations)
  • acquisition of social-indexical knowledge in preschool to school-aged children
  • the effects of interlocutor characteristics on linguistic accommodation


This scholarship is available to eligible domestic candidates to undertake a 3-year PhD program.

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants are expected to have a record of excellent academic performance and preferably, additional relevant research experience and/or peer-reviewed research activity in line with the University’s scholarship rating guidelines. Refer to the Rating Scholarship Applicants section for more information about these guidelines.

Scholarship Components

This scholarship provides a full-time living allowance/stipend currently valued at AUD $27,596 per annum (2019 rate), tax exempt. Domestic candidates are also provided with a tuition-fee offset scholarship.

Contact Details

Name: Prof Felicity Cox
Phone: 9850-8767

How to Apply

For information on how to apply, select the "How to Apply" button below.

Please note, at the start of your application you should select the scholarship type of "HDR Project/Supervisor Specific Scholarship".

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