Jane Setter

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Jane Setter
Born (1966-07-18) 18 July 1966 (age 56)
Eastbourne, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Phonetician
Notable workEnglish Pronouncing Dictionary, eds. 15–18; Hong Kong English
Awards National Teaching Fellowship [1]
Website www.reading.ac.uk/en/elal/staff/professor-jane-setter

Jane Setter (born 18 July 1966 in Eastbourne) is a British phonetician. She teaches at the University of Reading, where she is Professor of Phonetics. She is best known for work on the pronunciation of British and Hong Kong English, and on speech prosody in atypical populations.



Jane Setter attended Dane Court Grammar School, Broadstairs, Kent, before taking Language Studies and English at the College of Ripon and York St John (then part of the University of Leeds). She then completed an MA in Linguistics and English Language Teaching at the University of Leeds in 1992, and a PhD at the University of Reading (while working in Hong Kong), which she was awarded in 2001.


From 1989 to 1991, she was an English language tutor at the private ACC English Language School in Japan. On completing her MA, she took up a number of part-time positions at the University of Leeds, Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett University) and the University of Reading before being appointed as a full-time Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she worked from 1995 to 2001. After several part-time lecturing positions at University College, London, City, University of London and the University of Reading, she was appointed full-time as lecturer in Phonetics at the University of Reading in 2004, subsequently gaining promotion to Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and, in 2013, Professor of Phonetics. [2] She was Head of English Language and Applied Linguistics at Reading University from 2009 to 2015.

Writing and research

She is notable for her work as co-editor of the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary for the editions from the 16th (2003) to the current 18th (2011); [3] for the 15th edition (1997), she is listed as Pronunciation Associate. She is the lead author on the co-authored Hong Kong English, [4] of which one reviewer wrote "this book has achieved its goal of providing an overview of Hong Kong English as an emergent variety of English to general readers", [5] and Speech Prosody in Atypical Populations, co-edited with long-term research collaborator Vesna Stojanovik. [6] A review of this book said "Overall, this edited volume fills a clear void in the literature in the area of atypical prosody”. [7] She has published a large number of research papers and is a popular invited speaker on the international conference circuit, appearing in, among other countries, Korea, Japan, Spain, Ukraine, the US and France. Setter was a Plenary Speaker at the 2017 conference of the International Association of Teaching English Overseas (IATEFL), the first phonetician to be invited to do this in the Association's fifty-year history. [8] She makes regular media appearances on television and radio shows nationally and internationally, and also in the press, commenting mainly on issues related to British and overseas accents of English, accent prejudice and the way people speak. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] Setter has held a number of grants, mainly for research related to aspects of speech prosody (e.g. intonation, rhythm and stress) in Global Englishes, such as Hong Kong and Malaysian English, and among children with Williams and Down's syndrome. Her book Your Voice Speaks Volumes [14] was published by Oxford University Press in November 2019, appearing in paperback [15] in July 2021.

Selected publications



Related Research Articles

In linguistics, creaky voice refers to a low, scratchy sound that occupies the vocal range below the common vocal register. It is a special kind of phonation in which the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx are drawn together; as a result, the vocal folds are compressed rather tightly, becoming relatively slack and compact. They normally vibrate irregularly at 20–50 pulses per second, about two octaves below the frequency of modal voicing, and the airflow through the glottis is very slow. Although creaky voice may occur with very low pitch, as at the end of a long intonation unit, it can also occur with a higher pitch. All contribute to make a speaker's voice sound creaky or raspy.

Phonology is the branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds or, for sign languages, their constituent parts of signs. The term can also refer specifically to the sound or sign system of a particular language variety. At one time, the study of phonology related only to the study of the systems of phonemes in spoken languages, but may now relate to any linguistic analysis either:

Foreign accent syndrome is a medical condition in which patients develop speech patterns that are perceived as a foreign accent that is different from their native accent, without having acquired it in the perceived accent's place of origin.

Isochrony is the postulated rhythmic division of time into equal portions by a language. Rhythm is an aspect of prosody, others being intonation, stress, and tempo of speech.

In linguistics, prosody is concerned with elements of speech that are not individual phonetic segments but are properties of syllables and larger units of speech, including linguistic functions such as intonation, stress, and rhythm. Such elements are known as suprasegmentals.

Linking R and intrusive R are sandhi or linking phenomena involving the appearance of the rhotic consonant between two consecutive morphemes where it would not normally be pronounced. These phenomena occur in many non-rhotic varieties of English, such as those in most of England and Wales, parts of the United States, and all of the Anglophone societies of the southern hemisphere, with the exception of South Africa. These phenomena first appeared in English sometime after the year 1700.

Auditory phonetics is the branch of phonetics concerned with the hearing of speech sounds and with speech perception. It thus entails the study of the relationships between speech stimuli and a listener's responses to such stimuli as mediated by mechanisms of the peripheral and central auditory systems, including certain areas of the brain. It is said to compose one of the three main branches of phonetics along with acoustic and articulatory phonetics, though with overlapping methods and questions.

In linguistics, a segment is "any discrete unit that can be identified, either physically or auditorily, in the stream of speech". The term is most used in phonetics and phonology to refer to the smallest elements in a language, and this usage can be synonymous with the term phone.

In linguistics, intonation is variation in pitch used to indicate the speaker's attitudes and emotions, to highlight or focus an expression, to signal the illocutionary act performed by a sentence, or to regulate the flow of discourse. For example, the English question "Does Maria speak Spanish or French?" is interpreted as a yes-or-no question when it is uttered with a single rising intonation contour, but is interpreted as an alternative question when uttered with a rising contour on "Spanish" and a falling contour on "French". Although intonation is primarily a matter of pitch variation, its effects almost always work hand-in-hand with other prosodic features. Intonation is distinct from tone, the phenomenon where pitch is used to distinguish words or to mark grammatical features.

The phonology of second languages is different from the phonology of first languages in various ways. The differences are considered to come from general characteristics of second languages, such as slower speech rate, lower proficiency than native speakers, and from the interaction between non-native speakers' first and second languages.

ToBI is a set of conventions for transcribing and annotating the prosody of speech. The term "ToBI" is sometimes used to refer to the conventions used for describing American English specifically, which was the first ToBI system, developed by Mary Beckman and Janet Pierrehumbert, among others. Other ToBI systems have been defined for a number of languages; for example, J-ToBI refers to the ToBI conventions for Tokyo Japanese, and an adaptation of ToBI to describe Dutch intonation was developed by Carlos Gussenhoven, and called ToDI. Another variation of ToBI, called IViE, was established in 1998 to enable comparison between several dialects of British English.

Jennifer Sandra Cole is a professor of linguistics and Director of the Prosody and Speech Dynamics Lab at Northwestern University. Her research uses experimental and computational methods to study the sound structure of language. She was the founding General Editor of Laboratory Phonology (2009–2015) and a founding member of the Association for Laboratory Phonology.

Julia Hirschberg is an American computer scientist noted for her research on computational linguistics and natural language processing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lilias Armstrong</span> British phonetician (1882-1937)

Lilias Eveline Armstrong was an English phonetician. She worked at University College London, where she attained the rank of reader. Armstrong is most known for her work on English intonation as well as the phonetics and tone of Somali and Kikuyu. Her book on English intonation, written with Ida C. Ward, was in print for 50 years. Armstrong also provided some of the first detailed descriptions of tone in Somali and Kikuyu.

Janet Fletcher is an Australian linguist. She completed her BA at the University of Queensland in 1981 and then moved to the United Kingdom and received her PhD from the University of Reading in 1989.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Roach (phonetician)</span> British retired phonetician (born 1943)

Peter John Roach is a British retired phonetician. He taught at the Universities of Leeds and Reading, and is best known for his work on the pronunciation of British English.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eugénie Henderson</span> British linguist and academic

Eugénie Jane Andrina Henderson, FBA was a British linguist and academic, specialising in phonetics. From 1964 to 1982, she was Professor of Phonetics at the University of London. She served as Chair of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain from 1977 to 1980, and President of the Philological Society from 1984 to 1988.

John Henry Esling, is a Canadian linguist specializing in phonetics. He is a Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at the University of Victoria, where he taught from 1981 to 2014. Esling was president of the International Phonetic Association from 2011 to 2015 and a co-editor of the 1999 Handbook of the International Phonetic Association.

Sara Howard is a British speech therapist and Professor Emerita of Clinical Phonetics at the University of Sheffield.

Annie Rialland is a French linguist who is Director of Research emerita of the CNRS Laboratory of Phonetics and Phonology (Paris). Her main domains of expertise are phonetics, phonology, prosody, and African languages.


  1. "Professor Jane Setter | Advance HE".
  2. Setter, Jane. "Professor Jane Setter". Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics. University of Reading. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  3. Roach, Peter; Esling, John; Setter, Jane (2011). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 580. ISBN   978-0-521-15255-6.
  4. Setter, Jane; Wong, Kathy; Chan, Brian (2010). Hong Kong English. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN   978-0-7486-3596-2.
  5. Bei, G.X. (2013). "Review of Setter, Wong and Chan Hong Kong English". English World-Wide. 34 (3): 383–385. doi:10.1075/eww.34.3.09xia.
  6. Stojanovik, Vesna; Setter, Jane (2011). Speech Prosody in Atypical Populations: Assessment and Remediation. J&R Press. ISBN   978-1-9078-2600-9.
  7. "Review of Speech Prosody in Atypical Populations: Assessment and Remediation". International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. 47 (4): 471–2. 2012. doi:10.1111/jlcd.2012.47.issue-4.
  8. IATEFL. "2017 Glasgow Conference" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  9. 6Medias. "Le bourreau de James Foley pourrait ȇtre britannique". YouTube . Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  10. British Comedy Guide. "Duck quacks don't echo". YouTube . Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  11. Alan Titchmarsh Show. "Jane talking phonetics". YouTube . Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  12. The Telegraph (28 November 2013). "Guide to pronunciation: from Moët to diplodocus" . Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  13. Setter, Jane. "Mispronunciation: why you should stop correcting people's mistakes". The Conversation. The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  14. Setter, Jane (2019). Your Voice Speaks Volumes. Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0198813842.
  15. Setter, Jane (July 2021). Your Voice Speaks Volumes: it's not what you say but how you say it (Paperback ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN   9780192843029 . Retrieved 18 August 2021.