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About Me

I am a Lecturer in Sociolinguistics in Linguistics and English Language in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. My interests within linguistics are sociolinguistics, variation and change, phonetics, and phonology.


phone: +44/(0) 131 650 3983

Linguistics and English Language

The University of Edinburgh

Dugald Stewart Building

3 Charles Street

Edinburgh, EH8 9AD

United Kingdom

office: Dugald Steward Building 2.11


The eVoweluate Survey!

The eVoweluate survey is a research project focusing on the reliability and reproducibility of manual vowel measurements. Its goals are twofold.

  1. Quantitatively evaluate the quality of automated vowel analysis, specifically that produced by the FAVE suite.
  2. Determine the rate of inter-annotator agreement amongst experts studying vowels.

Sounds interesting? You can participate here!

Edinburgh Speaks

The Edinburgh Speaks project is still in the early planning stages. Our goal is to learn about how people communicate in Edinburgh.

For more information about the project, see the website. If you'd like to contribute your own knowledge to the project as a researcher or as an Edinburgh local, please get in touch!

Forced Alignment and Vowel Extraction

I help maintain the active development of the Forced Alignment and Vowel Extraction (FAVE) suite.

You can download the code from Github, where we also maintain a wiki to help new users get set up. There's also a nice users group.

Sound Change and the Phonology-Phonetics Interface

My dissertation investigated how phonetic and phonological factors influence language change in progress. So far, my research in this area has mostly utilized data from the Philadelphia Neighborhood Corpus.

On the basis of my investigation of the data it appears that categorical (phonological) factors play a crucial role in sound changes much earlier than it is sometimes realized.



Journal Papers

Working Papers and Proceedings


Phonological Rule Change: The Constant Rate Effect
Josef Fruehwald , Jonathan Gress-Wright and Joel Wallenberg
Presented at NELS 40, 2009 
Published Proceedings NELS 40


New results from hierarchical models of the community grammar
Josef Fruehwald and Laurel MacKenzie
Presented at NWAV 40 
Published in Penn Working Papers in Linguistics
Handout [PDF]


Redevelopment of a Morphological Class
Presented at PLC 35, 2011 
Published PWPL 18.1
Handout ; Paper


The Spread of Raising: Opacity, Lexicalization, and diffusion
Presented at NWAV 36, 2008 
Published Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 14.2

Invited Talks


How Phonetic Changes Happen
Presented at Newcastle University
HTML5 Slides


The Phonological Influence on Phonetic Change
Presented at University of York
HTML5 Slides

Conference Talks and Presentations


Is it really, um, informative?
Presented at Edinburgh Language Variation and Change Research Group and Edinburgh Disfluency Research Group
HTML5 Slides



In the academic year 2014/2015, I'm organizing and teaching on the following courses.

LEL2B: Phonetic Analysis and Empirical Methods

This is a second year pre-honours course being taught in the first semester. For more information, its DRPS entry. If you are a student on the course, all relevant information about the course can be found in the course handbook, and on Learn.

Intro to Sociolinguistics

This postgraduate course taught in the first semester serves as a foundational introduction to Sociolinguistics. It is a compulsory course for the MSc in Applied linguistics. For more information, see its DRPS entry.

The Grammar of Variation

This honours course taught in the second semester will focus on how quantiative probabilities and grammatical theory can be brought together to be mutually informative. There is also a practical component involving learning how to use R.


Val Systems

My linguistics and everything else blog called Val Systems.

In Philadelphia, where I'm from, /aw/ is monopthongized before /l/, and I like to study vowels, hence the name "Val Systems."


I've also started blogging here on github.

So far it has no name, and will be devoted to more techy things that are of less general interest than what I post to Val Systems.