Women in the history of phonetics/phonology

Early women in phonetics and phonology

A question came up about women in phonology or phonetics before approximately 1960.  This turned into a collaborative project over email and social media.  The results are here, but will probably eventually be included in wikipedia as appropriate.  We defined "phonetics and phonology" broadly.

Contributions from Mary Beckman, Joan Sereno, Carol Espy-Wilson, Annie Tremblay, Martine Adda-Decker, Jennifer Cole, Janet Pierrehumbert, Lisa Davidson, Lauren Hall-Lew, Friederike Lüpke, Sharon Rose, Elizabeth Shriberg, Bronwen Evans, Susan Fischer, Julia Hirschberg, Christian di Canio, John Wells, Graham Pointon, Gloria Mellesmoen, Nuria Polo Cano, Claire Timmins, and Natasha Warner.  Many thanks especially to Mary Beckman for a large number of contributions.  Several of the contributors wrote the short descriptions below, they are not all written by me.  Credit also goes to the Women N Speech google group and the Women in General Linguistics facebook group.  If anyone wants to send me more information (nwarner@email.arizona.edu), I'll attempt to update this list at least for a while.

Women in phonetics and phonology, roughly by time period:

Laura Soames (1840-1895):  Use of phonetics in teaching of reading.  Published an Introduction to Phonetics in 1891. https://benjamins.com/catalog/hl.21.1-2.06mac

Elise Richter (1865-1943, publishing 1904-1940): First woman to get a PhD in Austria, first woman to teach at the university level in Austria or Germany, pivoted from historical linguistics to phonetics and built her own phonetics lab.  Prevented from graduating high school for being a woman until she was over 30, killed by the Nazis for being partly Jewish in Theresienstadt.  Fought to the level of the national government to get her appointment as a faculty member.  Involved in activism for other women's rights in academia and for girls' education.  They had to secretly move her formal first lecture to a different location and time to avoid the protestors.  She seems to have been a force of nature in terms of personality.  Poster on Richter that I presented at the Acoustical Society meeting in 2010.

Lilias Armstrong (1882-1937): University College London, English intonation, tone in Somali and Kikuyu. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilias_Armstrong

Anne McAllister (1892-1983): lecturer in Phonetics at Glasgow University and then went on to establish the Speech Therapy course at Strathclyde, then became one of the founding members of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. https://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/

Hélène-Nathalie Coustenoble:  Her most famous contribution is the book written together with Lilias Armstrong on French intonation, published in 1934. She further worked and published on phonetics of French, especially of Southern French (Provençal) and French pronunciation dictionaries.

Hélène Nathalie Coustenoble, Lilias Eveline Armstrong. Studies in French intonation, 
Cambridge [England] W. Heffer & Sons, Ltd., 1934.

Hélène Nathalie Coustenoble. La phonétique du provençal moderne en terre d'Arles, Hertford, S. Austin 1945.

Eunice Pike (1913-2011): SIL linguist, focus on tone in Mazatec, also various Mixtec languages, Otomi, and Athabaskan languages.  Early work on downstep and upstep.  Publishing by 1947.  SIL obituary: https://www.sil.org/linguistics/eunice-pike

Pike, K. L. and Pike, E. V. (1947). Immediate Constituents in Mazateco Syllables. International Journal of American Linguistics, 13(2):78–91.

Eileen Whitley (1910-1988): SOAS phonologist.  Collaborator of Daniel Jones and of Firth.  Teaching by 1940.  https://sites.google.com/site/firthianarchive/whitley

Eugenie Henderson:  appointed to be a lecturer in phonetics at SOAS in 1942.  Firthian phonologist.

Claire Benedict: phonetics work throughout the 1940's coming out of a background of music and singing, affiliated with Chicago Musical College.  I haven't been able to find out very much about her at all.

Marguerite Durand (1904-1962):  worked on vowel length and duration and rhythm, at the Institut de Phonétique in Paris.  First female president of the SFL (French Society of Linguistics) in 1961https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marguerite_Durand_(linguiste)

Elizabeth (Betsy) Uldall: joined the faculty of the new Phonetics Department at the University of Edinburgh in 1949. Obituary in “The Scotsman” https://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/betsy-uldall-teacher-2469130https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_T._Uldall

Slides and text for a talk by Lauren Hall-Lew and Alice Turk:

Text: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ohve9j91szzapa/Hall-Lew%20%26%20Turk%202019%20%28talk%29.pdf?dl=0

Slides: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ql3bc150ftmp8wv/Hall-Lew%20%26%20Turk%202019%20%28slides%29.pdf?dl=0

Ida Ward: https://blogs.soas.ac.uk/centenarytimeline/2016/01/08/the-ultimate-phonetician-ida-ward-1880-1949-pioneering-scholar-of-african-linguistics/

contributed a lot to our understanding of tone and its relationship to intonational phrasing, as in this paper:  Ward, Ida C. (1948). Verbal tone patterns in West African languages. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 12, 831-837.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_C._Ward for biography.

Ilse Lehiste (1922-2010): publishing in linguistics by 1959, her second dissertation (the one in linguistics) was that year. https://asa.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1121/1.1907729

Katherine Safford Harris:  Former Board of Directors, Haskins Laboratories, Former Vice President, Haskins Laboratories, Professor Emeritus, CUNY Graduate Center, Former President, Acoustical Society of America.  Hired at Haskins Labs in 1952.  https://acousticstoday.org/historical-biographies-in-acoustics-katherine-safford-harris-elle-obrien/

Ludmilla A. Chistovich: Publishing on perception and psychophysics starting in 1957, on speech by 1960:

Chistovich, L. A. (1957). Frequency characteristics of masking effect. Biofizika2(6), 714-725.

See Cristel Sorin’s bibliography: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0167639385900317

Eli Fischer-Jørgensen: had influential publications in acoustic phonetics already in the early 1950s, although it wasn’t until 1966 that the University of Copenhagen created the Chair in Phonetics for her, according to this piece:

Hazel Carter: similar early contributions to those of Ida Ward, but then also contributing to our understanding of tone and intonation in Caribbean creoles (after she moved from SOAS to University of Wisconsin). She did her first fieldwork (on Shona) in 1952, but may not have published until "Notes on the tonal system of Northern Rhodesian Plateau Tonga” in 1962.

Natalie Waterson: co-authored "Notes on the Phonetics of the Georgian Word" in 1952  https://www.cambridge.org/.../5C4710788E7E07F3B163676B3F9...

Frances Ingemann: University of Kansas, phonetics and documentation.  Although Ingemann's later work was more fieldwork and philology, she was one of many women whose beginnings were nurtured by a stint at Haskins and publications from the 1950s that had her as a coauthor include:

Frieda Goldman-EislerThere is a book dedicated to her: Dechert, Hans; Raupach, Manfred, eds. (1980). Temporal variables in speech: Studies in honour of Frieda Goldman-Eisler. Walter de Gruyter.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frieda_Goldman-Eisler

Louise Kaiser: lecturer in phonetics at the University of  Amsterdam when she edited the first edition of the “Manual of Phonetics” in 1957.

Patricia Nicely:  known for the highly-cited paper Miller & Nicely (1955) on consonant confusions. 

Miller, G. A., & Nicely, P. E. (1955). An analysis of perceptual confusions among some English consonants. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America27(2), 338-352.

Kerstin Hadding-Koch: had this (sole-authored) publication already in 1956:
before she started the oft-cited work with Michael Studdert-Kennedy.

Jo Ann Kinney: publishing in the late 50's and early 60's on speech perception.  Affiliations at Haskins Labs and at the US Navy Medical Research Lab.

Sarah Gudschinsky (1919-1975):  Literacy in indigenous languages.  SIL linguist.  Publishing by 1958.

Gudschinsky, Sarah C Native Reactions to Tones and Words in Mazatec 1958 Word Literacy and Education

Klára Magdics: had this (sole-authored) publication in 1959:
before she started the work in collaboration with Iván Fónagy that is cited more often.

Eva Gårding: had this publication with Louis Gerstman in 1960:

Marguérite Chapallaz:  Italian phonetics, especially intonation.

Chapallaz, M. (1960). Notes on Italian intonation. Le Maître Phonétique75, 10-13.

Eva Sivertsen (1922-2009):  University of Trondheim, became Rektor of the university.  Work on Cockney Phonology, published 1960. http://www.yek.me.uk/sivertsen.html, https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Sivertsen

Mieko S. Han: author (or co-author) of a lot of acoustic phonetics work on Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese starting in the early 1960s. She was also coauthor of the seminal papers on the Korean stop phonation type contrasts with Ray Weitzman (whose dissertation she advised). Her dissertation was in 1961, leading to this book:

Han, Mieko Shimizu (1962). Japanese Phonology: An Analysis Based Upon Sound Spectrograms. Kenkuysha.

Olive Tooley:  phonetician at UCL.

O'Connor, J. D., & Tooley, O. M. (1964). The perceptibility of certain word-boundaries. na.

Vicky Fromkin: had this paper as early as 1964:
and this paper in Language in 1965:

Miyoko Sugito: published starting in 1965.  The talk linked here has stories as well as a timeline.  https://www.superlectures.com/speechprosody2014/tribute-to-sugito-miyoko-sensei


Women with primary specialization in language documentation and fieldwork, and sometimes additional areas, who did phonology as part of their language documentation work:

This list is not as thorough as the one above, and lists just a few people in this area.  A thorough history of women in linguistic fieldwork, even with a focus on phonology, would add many more.

Hannah Kilham (1774–1832): Based in England.  She is known as a missionary and linguist active in West Africa. She was a teacher, feminist, and philanthropic activist promoting African instruction. She wrote grammars and produced word lists of 25 African languages.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Kilham

Esther Matteson: SIL linguist working on Piro (Arawakan), publishing by 1949. https://www.sil.org/resources/search/contributor/matteson-esther?fbclid=IwAR3-8GhMxG99ElJXN1fESKJkRnokd_1dkvUmXT-lfPhYFV4ga6t4xfREuwY

Jane Hill (1939-2018): U Arizona  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_H._Hill

Mary Haas (1910-1996): UC Berkeley  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Haas

Gladys Reichard (1893-1965): Wiyot, Coeur D'Alene, Navajo.  Reichard did her fieldwork on Coeur d'Alene (a Salish language) as early as the 1920s and is under-recognized as one of the first people to write a full grammar of a Salish language (Coeur d'Alene, published in 1938). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Reichard

Pamela Amoss (fieldwork papers and publications 1954-1971): fieldwork on Nooksack (a Salish language), starting in the 1950s. She is both one of the first and one of the last to have worked with speakers of the language and wrote her MA thesis on the phonology of Nooksack (Nuksack Phonemics, completed in 1961). She was ahead of her time in describing the phonemes and sound patterns in Salish languages, and her recordings from 1950s, archived with University of Washington, are incredibly valuable resources. http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv53314

May Edel: publishing by 1939 on Tillamook (Salish), including on its phonetics and phonology, in the International Journal of American Linguistics. http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv87490