Clare College Cambridge


Director of Studies in Linguistics:

Kirsty McDougall



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.