Dr Catherine Dickie's homepage


As of October 2012, I've taken up a full time, permanent post outside academia.

My most recent projects had been looking at:
  • the acquisition of stress minimal pairs (eg rebel, rebel) in adult second language learners of English and English children with dyslexia
  • developing the Phonologically Balanced Nonwords test in different UK regional accents, including analysing typically developing primary school children's responses to the SSE version in a small scale pilot study
  • the language and literacy development of Scottish children growing up in social deprivation when they begin primary school
These are still topics of interest for me and I would be pleased at any time to hear from anyone who might be thinking of working in these areas.

Research interests

I'm interested in ...
the sounds of language, from sociophonetics to suprasegmentals
accents and articulation
impairments of phonology
literacy, because we couldn't do linguistics without it
first and second language acquisition
My research so far has had a particular focus on the acquisition of phonology in populations showing different developmental trajectories. I'm interested in the various strands of phonology-related skills which somehow combine to make up an individual's "phonological knowledge", and how different profiles of strengths and weaknesses give rise to different developmental outcomes.

Recent activity

  • The 'Talking Nonsense' Project (designing and piloting phonologically balanced nonwords)
  • The EMA Project (Electromagnetic Articulography) with Alice Turk, Christian Geng, Jim Scobbie
  • The VOYS Project (Voices of Young Scots) with Felix Schaeffler, Christoph Draxler, and Klaus Jänsch
  • Lexical Effects in Children's Speech Perception, with Mits Ota and Mary Stewart
  • The Hotdog Project (info for parents)
  • JAST and AMI

About my thesis

I graduated in 2009 from Edinburgh University, where my PhD was supervised by Dr Mits Ota, with Dr Ann Clark (Queen Margaret University) as external supervisor. My thesis title was: Exploring the Nature of the Phonological Deficit in Dyslexia: Are Phonological Representations Impaired?

I investigated people's implicit knowledge of the sound patterns of language, as distinct from the aspects of spoken language which overlap with knowledge of written language. No evidence was found that adults with dyslexia have an impairment relative to non-dyslexic peers in their implicit knowledge of the phonological patterns of spoken language.


  • Dickie, C, Ota, M, & Clark, A (2012). 'Revisiting the phonological deficit in dyslexia: Are implicit non-orthographic representations impaired?' To appear in Applied Psycholinguistics. (Manuscript)
  • Dickie, C (2009). ‘Prosody and literacy: the relationship between children’s suprasegmental representations and reading skills.’ International Clinical Linguistics Conference (ICLC), Madrid, September 2009 (Paper). To appear in V Marrero & I Pineda (eds), Linguistics: The Challenge of Clinical Application.
  • Dickie, C, Ota, M, & Clark, A (2007). 'The phonological deficit in developmental dyslexia: is there a suprasegmental component?' (Paper presented at ICPhS 2007) (Paper)


  • Dickie, C (2011). 'Rebelling greenhouses: The invisible relationship between morphophonology and literacy.' Invited talk. Dutch-British Workshop on Morphophonology in Language and Literacy. Amsterdam, January 2011 (Abstract) (Slides)
  • Dickie, C, Ota, M, & Clark, A (2010). 'Phonologically balanced nonwords.' Child Language Seminar, London, June 2010 (Abstract) (PowerPoint slides)
  • Dickie, C, Draxler, C, Schaeffler, F, & Jänsch, K (2010). 'Updating the Scottish accent map: preliminary formant data from the VOYS corpus.' British Association of Academic Phoneticians colloquium (BAAP), London, March 2010 (Abstract) (PowerPoint slides)
  • Ota, M, Dickie, C, Hien, C, & Stewart, ME (2010). ‘Autistic traits and lexical effects on speech perception in children.’ British Association of Clinical Linguistics (BACL) Symposium, Edinburgh, January 2010
  • Dickie, C, Schaeffler, F, Draxler, C, & Jänsch, K (2009). ‘Speech recordings via the internet: An overview of the VOYS project in Scotland.’ Interspeech, Brighton, September 2009 (Paper)
  • Dickie, C., Clark, A., Ota, M., Nasir, J., O’Hare, A., & Watson, J. (2008). 'Nonword repetition in children with SLI and their parents: Looking for phonological similarities' (Talk presented at BACL, Reading 2008) (Slides)
  • Dickie, CE, Clark, A, & Ota, M (2008). 'The role of phonological representations in dyslexia' (Talk presented at the DGfS Workshop on the role of phonology in reading acquisition, Bamberg 2008) (Slides)
  • Dickie, CE, Clark, A, & Ota, M (2007). 'Does the phonological deficit in developmental dyslexia extend beyond the segmental level?' (Talk presented at SPiAP, Reading, 2007) (Slides)
  • 'Phonology without orthography' (presented at the LEL Postgrad Conference 2006) (Paper)


Lecturer, University of Salford, 2010-2012
  • First Language Acquisition
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Language, Mind, and Society (psycholinguistics)
  • Psycholinguistics (PG)
Visiting lecturer, 2010-2011
  • University of Manchester - Topics in Psycholinguistics
  • University of Edinburgh - First Language Acquisition (MSc)
I have tutored and/or lectured for undergraduate courses at all levels:
  • first year Linguistics (introduction to all areas of linguistics) 
  • second year Linguistics (phonology and instrumental phonetics)
  • introductory syntax and semantics for QM Speech and Language Therapy BSc students
  • QM Honours Speech and Language Therapy Applications of Linguistics 
I have tutored primary and high school students in English (including Standard Grade and Higher) and have given interactive presentations on phonetics to pupils at local secondary schools.

Scottish Vowels

Existing vowel charts for Scottish English are: (1) the one in Heinz Giegerich’s 1992 textbook, English Phonology, (2) in Scobbie et al's (2008) paper on the acquisition of Scottish English (pdf here), (3) in Hewlett & Beck's Introduction to the Science of Phonetics (2006). 

Our preliminary data from the VOYS corpus presented at BAAP 2010 includes some outline vowel charts for five Scottish regional varieties. The ppt slides containing these charts are here, as listed in the publications above.

The following charts are less relevant now that the VOYS data has been published, except that the phonetic/phonological contexts are more tightly controlled. As a very rough guide to the formant values of the vowel space for Scottish English, they show vowels spoken by one female speaker of Scottish English (from the Central Belt), university-educated, in her mid-20s. They show F1 and F2 values for nine vowels of Scottish English (ie /i, e, ɛ, ɪ, u, o, ɔ, ʌ, a/).