IPA News

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)

19 Apr 2020

The IPA now publishes accounts annually, separately from the Treasurer's reports (which normally appear at four-yearly intervals in ICPhS years). The accounts to 31 December 2019 are available at
Or to see all accounts and reports, choose About and then Officers' and Committee Reports.

29 Mar 2020

For the foreseeable future, during the Coronavirus pandemic, the IPA is suspending its examinations. This means that both examinations scheduled for 2020 are now cancelled.

Please watch this website for further information.