I am an Emeritus Fellow to the University of Westminster and a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
I was educated first at the University of London Goldsmith's College School of Art (where I followed a pre-diploma course in fine art and art history) then at the University of Lancaster (where I studied for a BA in English) and at UCL (where, as a postgraduate student, I completed an MA and then a PhD, both in phonetics). I joined the University of Westminster staff in 1975 as a Visiting Lecturer when the University was still the Polytechnic of Central London, becoming a Principal Lecturer (in phonetics and phonology) in 1988. I held a full-time permanent post at the University of Westminster from 1982 until my retirement in 2011.
I was a founder member of the University Council for General and Applied Linguistics.
I enjoy an international reputation in my field and have been an invited speaker at many national and international institutions and conferences (from the University of Leeds to the London Language Show in UK, and from Kansai Gaidai, Osaka and the University of Kochi in Japan to the Universities of Novi Sad and Belgrade in Serbia) delivering public lectures and keynote addresses.
Since retiring, I have undertaken consultancy work, participating in 2014 in a round table discussion at the University of Helsinki, Finland of plans by the Finnish Ministry of Education & Culture to require the use of IPA notation in foreign language pedagogy in Finnish schools. I remain a Member of Council of the International Phonetic Association, for which I am also the Examinations Secretary, running the bi-annual Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English and developing learning resources for the examination page of the Association's website. I have been a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2013, and I am a member of the British Association for Academic Phoneticians. I have also recently been re-appointed as Subject Specialist to the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic & Vocational Awards, an appointment which lasts until 2019.
Together with colleagues from UCL and City University, I helped found and now continue to help organize the biennial PTLC - the Phonetics Teaching and Learning Conference.
My main research interests are in the areas of phonetic pedagogy, allophonic variation in English speech, and English intonation.
My recent pedagogical research focused on the flipped classroom (where students follow lectures as homework and undertake practical work, data analysis and typical homework-style exercises during the class contact time), applying this to the teaching of linguistic phonology. In the field of phonetics, I am currently engaged in the investigation of l-vocalization (particularly in British English), and fricative articulation (especially devoicing) in English and Polish. A further research interest concerns what I am calling "written intonation", examining the ways in which authors indicate intonational characteristics in their representation of direct speech.
I am the author of a number of books on phonetics including the popular Speech Sounds, published by Routledge, and Understanding Phonetics, published originally by Hodder Education (and recently taken over by Routledge).