Clare College Cambridge

Dr Kirsty McDougall

Dr Kirsty McDougall

Arts Admissions Tutor

Director of Studies in Linguistics


What is your subject and specific area of study?

My subject is Linguistics and I specialise in phonetics. I was always intrigued by the way that people can communicate using different languages and I loved the sound of different accents, but I didnt find out that linguistics was a subject you could study until I went to a university open day. I studied linguistics and mathematics as an undergraduate in Melbourne. Part of what drew me to linguistics was that it is a subject at the interface of arts and science, using a variety of quantitative and qualitative approaches to understand the very human phenomenon of language. In my final year I discovered forensic phonetics, a real world application of linguistics: the use of phonetic analysis in criminal cases involving speech recordings. I came to Cambridge to complete my graduate study and have been undertaking research in this area ever since. As well as my research and teaching I act as an expert witness in cases requiring forensic phonetic analysis.