About the Association for Laboratory Phonology

The Association for Laboratory Phonology is a non-profit organization. Its main activities are organizing a biennial conference, publishing the journal Laboratory Phonology, and promoting the scientific study of the phonologies of diverse languages, especially through use of quantitative and laboratory methods to the development of phonological theory.


Executive Council

Standing Committees


Bylaws of the Association

Guidelines on Hosting a LabPhon Conference

Requesting Association sponsorship for a conference, workshop, or other event

History and Purpose

The Association grew out of a series of conferences that began with the “First Conference on Laboratory Phonology”, organized by Mary Beckman and John Kingston at the Ohio State University in June 1987.  The idea behind the name “laboratory phonology” – the joint creation of Mary Beckman and Janet Pierrehumbert – was to advance phonological theory on the basis of quantitative data about speech and language. “Quantitative data about speech and language” quickly came to include not just findings from the phonetics lab but such sources of insight as psycholinguistic research on the effects of word frequency on lexical access, studies of phonological phenomena in signed languages, and attempts to model speech based on gestural specifications rather than alphabetic transcriptions.

A second conference was held at the University of Edinburgh in 1989, and the series then continued roughly every other year, loosely overseen by a group of like-minded phonologists and phoneticians in Europe and North America.  By the early 2000s both the conference series and the resulting publications (collections of papers published by Cambridge University Press and then by De Gruyter) had begun to outgrow the informality of a self-appointed and self-sustaining group of organizers.  The Association formally came into being in 2010, and the first volume of the Association’s journal Laboratory Phonology appeared that same year.  The first president of the Association was Bob Ladd and the first editor of the journal was Jennifer Cole.

The biennial conference series, now more than thirty years old, continues to attract scholars from around the world.  The first conference outside Europe and North America was held in New Zealand in 2008 and the Association continues its efforts to be accessible to a truly international group of scholars.  The laboratory phonology research tradition continues to focus on broadening the range of data and the range of phenomena that are taken to be relevant to an understanding of phonology and its place in language.

Honorary Members

  • Donca Steriade - Massachusetts Institute of Technology - elected 2020
  • Janet F. Werker - University of British Columbia - elected 2018
  • Julia Hirschberg - Columbia University - elected 2014
  • Anne Cutler - MARCS Institute & Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics - elected 2012

Honorary Members (in Memoriam)

  • Cathe Browman - Haskins Laboratories
  • Gösta Bruce - Lunds Universitet
  • Dennis Klatt - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Peter Ladefoged - University of California, Los Angeles

Founding Members

  • Amalia Arvaniti - University of Kent
  • Mary Beckman - Ohio State University
  • Cathi Best - MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney
  • Jennifer Cole - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Mariapaola D’Imperio - Université de Provence
  • Louis Goldstein - Haskins Laboratories & University of Southern California
  • Jen Hay - University of Canterbury
  • José Hualde - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Pat Keating - University of California Los Angeles
  • John Kingston - University of Massachusetts
  • Bob Ladd - University of Edinburgh
  • Ian Maddieson - University of California, Berkeley & University of New Mexico
  • Janet Pierrehumbert - Northwestern University
  • Caroline Smith - University of New Mexico
  • Paul Warren - Victoria University of Wellington
  • Doug Whalen - City University of New York & Haskins Laboratories