Robert Kennedy


Office Location

South Hall 3516


Phonology; morphology; phonetics; reduplication; ultrasound; cross-sectional imaging; prosodic phonology; dialects of English; linguistics of sports


I have always had an interest in how phonological representations are shaped by a diverse range of factors, including perception, articulation, acquisition, identity, culture, and context. In general, I enjoy tackling challenging analytical problems that test the limits of phonological models.

One of my primary research interests is reduplication, with a focus on variation in the shape, position, and function of reduplicative morpho-phonology within and across languages.  This motivates a typologically-driven approach to reduplication, Morpho-Prosodic Alignment, which models multi-pattern languages with minimal formal principles.  It also captures stem-driven allomorphic alternations, and reflects a relationship between morpheme size, lexical content, and grammatical function. 

Another research area is the study of phonetic and phonological properties of vowel inventories in English dialects, with recent work on California English.  Vowels of dialects differ from each other in quantifiable phonetic dimensions like formant structure and diphthong shapes, but the deeper curiosity for me here is the relationship between these factors and phonological notions of contrast and alternation.

I also have a strong interest in the form, usage, and social meaning of names and nicknames, especially those that function as both reference and address. This pursuit has drawn me into a broader domain of language and sports, where the study of register and structural repertoire illustrates the effect of sporting contexts on linguistic structures and vice versa.


2003 Ph.D, University of Arizona

Current Projects

  • Allomorphy and isomorphy in reduplication
  • Phonological and phonetic aspects of vowel contrasts across English dialects
  • Phonological effects on phonetic phenomena
  • Register and repertoire in the language of sports
  • Form and function in nicknames


Kennedy, Robert.  In Press. Nicknames.  In John R. Taylor (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Word.

Kennedy, Robert, and James Grama. 2012. Chain shifting and centralization in California vowels: An acoustic analysis. American Speech.

Kennedy, Robert. 2011. Reduplication in Sanskrit. In Marc van Oostendorp, Colin Ewen, Elizabeth Hume, and Keren Rice (Eds.), Companion to Phonology. Wiley-Blackwell.

Kennedy, Robert. 2008. Bugotu and Cheke Holo reduplication: in defense of the Emergence of the Unmarked. Phonology 25. 61-82.

Kennedy, Robert. 2008. Evidence for Morphoprosodic Alignment in Reduplication. Linguistic Inquiry 39. 589-614.

Kennedy, Robert, and Tania S. Zamuner. 2006. Nicknames and the lexicon of sports. American Speech 81:4. 387-422.

Kennedy, Robert. 2005. The Binarity Effect in Kosraean reduplication. Phonology 22:2. 145- 168.

Kennedy, Robert. 2002. A stressed-based approach to Ponapean reduplication. Proceedings ofthe West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL) 21. Somerville MA:Cascadilla Press.

Kennedy, Robert. 2002. Stress and allomorphy in Woleaian reduplication. Proceedings of the Texas Linguistic Society. University of Texas, Austin TX.


  • LING 20 Introduction to Language and Linguistics
  • LING 70 Language and Society
  • LING 101 Linguistic Analysis
  • LING 106 Phonetics
  • LING 107 Phonology
  • LING 115 Historical and Comparative Linguistics
  • LING 116 Language and Sports
  • LING 117 Dialects of English
  • LING 160 Structure of English