Photo of Beth MacLeod

Beth MacLeod

Associate Professor (Linguistics); Associate Director (Linguistics)

Degrees:BMath (Waterloo), MA & PhD in Linguistics (Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 5229
Office:239 Paterson Hall

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Linguistics and Language Studies at Carleton University.  My research broadly encompasses the production and perception of phonetic variation in speech and falls into 3 main areas:

  1. Phonetic imitation: where a speaker’s pronunciation subtly changes to become more similar to the person they are talking to.  This phenomenon allows us to learn more about some of the big issues in linguistics such as the mental representation of speech sounds, patterns of second language and second dialect acquisition, and sound change.
  2. Sociophonetics: how social meaning is encoded in phonetic variation and how listeners perceive this information
  3. Second language acquisition: how adults acquire the phonetics and phonology of a second language

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Research Interests

  • Phonetic imitation
  • Second language acquisition of phonetics and phonology
  • Sound change
  • Sociolinguistics and sociophonetics


I have supervised student research on topics such as (but not limited to) the following:

  • Phonetics of Spanish stop voicing contrast
  • Attitudes on variation in the pronunciation of “Toronto”
  • The effect of stigmatization on imitation of Spanish dialect variants
  • The Canadian Shift in Ottawa
  • English second dialect acquisition

I am particularly interested in supervising student research on topics such as the following:

  • production and perception of phonetic imitation, especially considering individual variation
  • patterns of cue weighting in perception and production
  • second language acquisition of Spanish by English speakers or of English by Spanish speakers

Current Grants

CU SSHRC Explore Research Development Grant, “Individual variation and reliability in the perception of phonetic convergence”, Fall 2021, $9,978.

Recent Publications

MacLeod, B. & Di Lonardo Burr, S.M. (2022). Phonetic imitation of the acoustic realization of stress in Spanish: Production and perception. Journal of Phonetics, 92, 101139.

MacLeod, B. (2021). Problems in the Difference-in-Distance measure of phonetic imitation. Journal of Phonetics, 87, 101058.

MacLeod, B. (2020). Place of articulation asymmetry in the lenition of voiced stops in Buenos Aires Spanish. Hispanic Studies Review, 4(2), 101-120.

MacLeod, B. (2015). A critical evaluation of two approaches to defining perceptual salience. Ampersand, 2, 83-92

MacLeod, B. (2012). Investigating L2 acquisition of Spanish vocalic sequences. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 5(1), 103-148

Recent Presentations

“The variability and reliability of listener performance in an AXB assessment of phonetic imitation”, MOT Phonetics and Phonology Conference 2022 (MOT 2022), University of Ottawa, ON, Mar 26-27, 2022

(with Sabrina M. Di Lonardo Burr) “Phonetic imitation of the acoustic realization of Spanish stress” 4th Phonetics and Phonology in Europe (PaPE 2021), Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, June 21-23 *online*, July 9

(with Sabrina M. Di Lonardo Burr) “Imitation of the acoustic realization of Spanish stress: production and perception” Canadian Linguistic Association (CLA 2021) *online*, June 4 – 7

“Collaborative laboratory phonology for second year undergraduates”, Satellite workshop of the conference of the Association for Laboratory Phonology 17: Pedagogical approaches to laboratory phonology (LabPhon 17), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC *online*, July 9

“Phonetic convergence in Mexican Spanish: combining acoustic and perceptual assessments”, Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages 50 (LSRL 50), University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX *online*, July 1-3, 6-8

“Degree of voiced stop weakening depends on place of articulation in Buenos Aires Spanish”, Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages 49 (LSRL 49), University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA, May 1-4

“Does phonological contrast mediate phonetic accommodation?” MOT Phonetics and Phonology Conference 2017, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, QC, March 24-26