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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


Dr Brechtje Post

Head of Department
Reader in Experimental Phonology
Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 767395 (Phonetics Laboratory)
+44 (0)1223 764952 (Jesus College)

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages 
University of Cambridge 
Raised Faculty Building
Sidgwick Avenue 


Brechtje's research centres on how linguistic systems exploit speech sounds to convey different types of meaning. Her focus is primarily on prosody: intonation, accentuation, rhythm, and phrasing.

Drawing on a variety of disciplines (phonetics, phonology, psycholinguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and computational linguistics), this research addresses questions like:

  • How do prosodic structures differ cross-linguistically, and how do linguistic systems constrain prosodic structure?
  • What cross-linguistic variation can we expect to observe in the phonetic realisation of prosodic structure?
  • What are the neural and cognitive underpinnings of prosody?
  • How do children acquire the relevant mappings between phonetics, phonology, and other parts of the linguistic system that are at play?
  • What role does prosody play in language learning in early and late bilinguals?

Brechtje has just completed a major research project on the neural processing of categorical and gradient information in intonation (ESRC First Grant). Current research includes an international collaboration investigating the acquisition of timing in child speech (British Academy/Leverhulme), the English Profile Pronunciation Project with Cambridge ESOL, Empirical Foundations of Linguistics (Agence Nationale de la Recherche), and Neural Correlates of Intonation (Cambridge Humanities Research Grant). 

Research projects


Recent publications include: 

  • Lammertink, Imme; Casillas, Marisa; Benders, Titia; Post, Brechtje; and Fikkert, Paula. (2015). Dutch and English toddlers' use of linguistic cues in predicting upcoming turn transitions. Frontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences 6: 495.
  • Schmidt, Anke-Elaine, and Post, Brechtje. (2015). The development of prosodic features and ambient language effects in simultaneous bilinguals. Language and Speech 58(1), 24 - 47.
  • Li, Aike and Post, Brechtje (2014). L2 Acquisition of prosodic properties of speech rhythm: Evidence from L1 Mandarin and German learners of English. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 36(2), 223-255.
  • Post, Brechtje; Stamatakis, Emmanuel; Bohr, Iwo; Nolan, Francis, and Cummins, Chris (2013). Categories and gradience in intonation. An fMRI study. In J. Romero and M. Riera (eds.) Phonetics and Phonology in Iberia.
  • Payne, Elinor; Post, Brechtje; Prieto, Pilar; del Mar Vanrell, Maria and Astruc, Lluïsa (2012). Measuring child rhythm. Language and Speech 55(2), 202-228
  • Zellers, Margaret and Post, Brechtje (2012). Combining formal and functional approaches to discourse structure. Language and Speech 55(1), 119-139.
  • Post, Brechtje; Marslen-Wilson, William; Randal, Billil and Tyler, Lorraine K. (2008). The processing of English regular inflections: Phonological cues to morphological structure. Cognition 109, 1–17.

More publications

Brechtje teaches phonetics, phonology, morphology, and psycholinguistics.