Matthew Gordon


Office Hours

Mondays 1:45 - 2:45 PM
Wednesdays 2:30-3:30 PM

Contact Phone


Office Location

South Hall 3522


Phonetics; phonology; prosody; typology


My interest in linguistics began as an interest in studying languages. I remember in high school learning Finnish on my own and being fascinated by its linguistic structures, which were so different from those found in any of the languages I had studied in school. My experience with Finnish opened me up to the great diversity of languages and the enormous potential in studying linguistics. The focus of my research is on phonetics, the study of speech sounds, and phonology, the study of the organization of sound in linguistic systems. I enjoy examining the acoustic properties of speech and how these properties are perceived by the auditory system. I am interested in exploring the idea that articulatory and auditory factors play an important role in shaping phonological systems. Much of my work involves the study of prosodic features of language, such as stress and intonation. I feel it is important to base linguistic generalizations on as broad a sample of languages as possible, including those which are not well documented from a linguistic standpoint. For this reason, much of my investigation of phonetics and phonology centers around languages which are relatively underdocumented, including Balto-Finnic languages like Estonian, Northwest Caucasian languages like Kabardian, and American Indian languages like Chickasaw and Koasati. One of my most rewarding experiences as a linguist is working firsthand on a language and discovering new sounds and sound patterns.


1999 Ph.D, University of California, Los Angeles

Current Projects

  • phonetic cues to prosodic constituents
  • phonological frequency distributions within and across languages
  • Kabardian prosody
  • Koasati lexical accent and intonation


Sonority and central vowels: A cross-linguistic phonetic study, 2012, In The Sonority Controversy, edited by Steve Parker, pp. 219-256. Mouton de Gruyter [co-authored with Edita Ghushchyan, Brad McDonnell, Daisy Rosenblum, and Patricia Shaw].

The acoustic correlates of stress and pitch accent in Tashlhiyt Berber, 2012, Journal of Phonetics 40, 706-724 [co-authored with Latifa Nafi].

Syllable structure and extrametricality: a typological and phonetic study, 2010, Studies in Language 34, 131-166. [co-authored with Carmen Jany, Carlos Nash, and Nobutaka Takara]. 

Prosodic fusion and minimality in Kabardian, 2010, Phonology 27, 45-76 [ co-authored with Ayla Applebaum].

Prominence and gemination in Ingrian, 2010, Linguistica Uralica 45, 81-100.

Pitch accent timing and scaling in Chickasaw, 2008, Journal of Phonetics 36, 521-535.

(Several articles in PDF format are downloadable from my publications website.)


  • Linguistics 20: Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics 106/206: Introduction to Phonetics
  • Linguistics 111/211: Introduction to Phonology
  • Linguistics 115/215: Introduction to Historical-Comparative Linguistics
  • Linguistics 213: Experimental Phonetics
  • Linguistics 220: Prosody
  • Linguistics 221A: Field Methods
  • Linguistics 222: Typology and Universals
  • Linguistics 235: Advanced Phonology
  • Linguistics 251: Seminar in Phonetics/Phonology