IPA News 2020

18 Nov 2020

The IPA is saddened to announce the death of our former member Professor Erik Charles Fudge. He died on 14th November at the age of 86, having tested positive for COVID-19.

Erik Fudge

He gained his PhD at Cambridge in 1967, and his long teaching career in Britain included posts at the Universities of Edinburgh, Hull and Reading. Many phoneticians and phonologists will remember him as the editor of a once widely-used anthology Phonology: selected readings, published by Penguin in 1973. He was an early commentator on generative phonology, and among his many papers and reviews are several relating to word and syllable structure and stress. This interest led to his remarkable and highly original work English Word Stress (1984), which was re-issued as recently as 2015.

The IPA sends condolences to his widow, Heather, and to their children and grandchildren.

14 Sep 2020

The International Phonetic Association is offering IPA Student Awards to student members of the Association presenting or attending conferences (virtual or physical) during the academic year 2020-2021. Student members of the Association attending international conferences/symposia/workshops on the phonetic sciences are eligible
to apply. Proof of student status needs to be submitted with the application.

Awards will cover the student registration fees up to a maximum of 200 Euros per award. For conferences taking place in Autumn 2020, the early bird or standard fees will be funded; for events in 2021, the early bird registration fees will be covered. The IPA aims to support as many students as possible within the budget allocated for Student Awards. Priority will be given to students presenting their research at conferences; for students participating at conferences as auditors, awards will be made on a first come, first served basis. Applications for IPA membership can be lodged via our website at:

This same web-page gives a full list of member benefits. To apply for an Award, eligible members of the IPA should send to the Secretary (Gerry Docherty, secretary@internationalphoneticassociation.org) and to the Chair of the Conference Sponsorships and Student Awards Committee (Katerina Nicolaidis, knicol@enl.auth.gr) an email that states their name, current academic affiliation, proof of student status, and the name and email address of an academic supervisor. For students presenting their research, the email should be accompanied by the abstract that has been accepted for presentation. The registration fees will be reimbursed after the completion of the event and upon receipt of confirmation of participation at the conference. This will include photographs or screenshots that can be posted on the IPA social media.

24 Aug 2020

The IPA is saddened to announce the death of John J. Ohala, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, President of the IPA 1995–1999.

Among other honours he was a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the Linguistic Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the International Speech Communication Association.

Long-time friend and colleague Ian Maddieson writes:
The field of phonetics has lost another of its giants. John Ohala died at home in Berkeley, California, on August 22, 2020. John’s contributions were enormously influential. He persistently advocated for an integrated view of phonetics and phonology and for a solid experimental foundation for any claims made. He argued for the importance of the role of the listener in sound change, for the necessarily physiological foundation of many phonological patterns, and for the encoding of ethological values in phonetic form. He was a superb experimentalist, creating tools to do the job when none previously existed. John founded the Phonology Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, when he joined the faculty in 1970 and continued in that role until his retirement in 2004. He was President of the IPA from 1995–1999, and organized the first International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP) in 1991 at Banff, Alberta and the 14th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences in San Francisco in 1999, among many other services to our discipline. He is survived by his wife Manjari, a noted phonetician in her own right, and is mourned by his many friends and admirers.

27 Jun 2020

IPA members now enjoy online access to the entire back catalogue of the Association's journal from its inception in 1886, hosted on JSTOR. For the first three years it was called The Phonetic Teacher, and from 1889 to 1970 it was Le Maître Phonétique — commonly known as MF [ˈɛm ˈɛf]. Go to
The early issues present the interesting linguistic challenge of reading several languages — differing varieties and styles of English, French and German, for instance — in all kinds of experimental transcription. The journal continued to be printed in phonetic symbols until the last MF in 1970.

12 May 2020

We regret to announce the death of Professor John Laver (1938–2020). The Council and officers of the Association extend their condolences to his family and friends.

The IPA Secretary sent the following message to members on 12 May:

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that former President of the IPA (1991-5) Professor Emeritus John Laver CBE, FBA, FRSE, passed away in Scotland on 6th May after an extended period of ill health.
John was Professor Emeritus of Speech Science at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, but the large part of his career was built at the University of Edinburgh where he was based from 1966-2000, becoming Professor of Phonetics in 1985. John’s influence on the field of Phonetics was very significant indeed, in particular his hugely influential work on the phonetic description of voice quality beautifully set out in his eponymous 1980 CUP monograph.
John provided mentoring and support to generations of Phonetics and Speech Science researchers both in Edinburgh and beyond, applying his customary incisive analytic skills, his rigorous approach to phonetic taxonomy, and his unfailing ability to shed new light on the complexities of phonetic theory. John was a relentless advocate for the field of Phonetics, seeing it as occupying a pivotal position at the intersection of a wide range of disciplines. This vision was spectacularly brought to life in 1984 when John established the highly innovative Centre for Speech Technology Research at Edinburgh which he directed from 1984-89, and then chaired until 1994.
In the latter years of his career, John served as Vice-Principal of Edinburgh University and held a number of external appointments, including a period as Chair of the British Academy's Humanities Research Board during which he steered its transition into the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. After he was appointed to Queen Margaret University in 2001 John undertook a number of senior academic roles, including a period as Acting Principal, before his retirement in 2004.
John’s loss will be deeply felt by many members of the IPA who have worked or studied with him over the years, or who have had their understanding of the field shaped by reading his work or by hearing one of his inspirational talks. For those of us who knew John very well as a colleague and/or student, it does feel like the end of an era.

Gerry Docherty
(Secretary, IPA)