John Knox Local

John Knox Local


Former affiliations

Personal profile


I am a Professor of Phonetics and Linguistics. I originally trained as a teacher of Music and English and after a short period teaching in a secondary school in the North East of England, I took a first degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. This was followed by a PhD on phonetic variation in Tyneside children's speech.

Since joining the faculty at York my research and teaching has centred on the organisation of sound systems in languages, speech synthesis and especially the phonetics of talk-in-interaction. My work on how speakers use fine phonetic detail to construct meaning in conversational interaction, led to the award of a British Academy Readership in 2000 and was the cornerstone of a recent major EU Marie Curie Research Training Network with collaborating researchers in 20 institutions across Europe.

I have been a Head of Department, Academic Coordinator for the Arts & Humanities and have served on a range of university committees including chairing the University Working Group which reviewed undergraduate and postgraduate modularisation.

Beyond the university I have collaborated with industrial partners in the UK and the US and have served on various research council panels and Committees. In 2008 I was Chair of the Linguistics sub-panel for the national Research Assessment Exercise.

I am currently Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York and have responsibility for all aspects of the University's policy and strategy on research including research postgraduates.

Along with the University Research Committee which I chair, I have responsibility for the development and implementation of the University’s Research Strategy. I have overall responsibility for trying to ensure that the University maintains its ability to undertake excellent innovative research which tackles problems that are both important and challenging.

Research interests

My  research interests lie in articulatory and acoustic phonetics, non-linear phonology and Conversation Analysis. I am particularly interested in how Conversation Analytic methodology can inform and reshape our understanding of the functioning of phonetic detail and phonetic variation.

Employment History

Employment History