University of Calgary

John Scott

  • Instructor

Office Hours

or by appointment


As a researcher of second-language (L2) phonology, I try to consider both the abstract arrangement of language sounds (general phonology) and specific problems of learnability when adults encounter new patterns in L2 (L2 phonology). This approach embraces the fundamental concerns of phonetics (study of the structure of language sounds), empirical methods employed to test hypotheses, theoretical and empirical principles of category perception, and the role of position-sensitivity in acquisition and the nature of non-linear phonological/phonotactic representations.

More broadly, my linguistics background emphasizes phonology, including historical Germanic linguistics, synchronic phonology (including Optimality Theory), L2 lexical acquisition, and some exploration of Chinese tone sandhi systems.

In addition to these research focuses, I am increasingly interested in the history of how languages become standardized, the impacts of literacy on various cultures (positive and negative), and the external factors that influence the field of language education (e.g., politics, funding, cultural attitudes about foreign languages and language purity).


I have taught German language courses at various university levels since 2006.  In summer of 2008 and 2009, I taught introductory German literature to Indiana high school students as part of a full-immersion program in Krefeld, Germany.  I have additionally had the opportunity to teach two seminars of my own design. In Constructed Languages: Fictions, Functions, & Factions at Indiana University, my students investigated conlangs as cultural artifacts and created conlangs of their own.  In (Mis)communication from Neurons to Nations at Marian University, we problematized communication issues ranging from audition and speech perception to political rhetoric and inter-cultural misunderstandings.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Darcy, I., Dekydtspotter , L., Sprouse, R. A., Glover, J., Kaden, C., McGuire, M., & Scott, J. H. G. (2012). Direct mapping of acoustics to phonology: On the lexical encoding of front rounded vowels in L1 English–L2 French acquisition. Second Language Research, 28, 5–40. doi: 10.1177/0267658311423455

Hall, T. A., & Scott, J. H. G. (2007). Inflectional paradigms have a base: Evidence from s-dissimilation in Southern German dialects. Morphology, 17, 151–178. doi: 10.1007/s11525-007-9112-z

Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings

Scott, J. H. G. (2019). Who follows the rules? Differential robustness of phonological principles. In J. Levis, C. Nagle, & E. Todey (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference, ISSN 2380-9566, Ames, IA, September 2018 (pp. 213–225). Ames, IA: Iowa State University. [PDF]

Book Reviews

Scott, J. H. G. (2014). Review of the book The Cambridge handbook of second language acquisition, by J. Herschensohn & M. Young-Scholten (Eds.). Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 36, 169–171. doi: 10.1017/S0272263113000673

Other Publications

Scott, J. H. G. (2001). German Particle-Complement Verbs in Modern Morphological and Syntactic Theory: Countering the ‘Separable-Prefix’ Misnomer. University of Washington Working Papers in Linguistics, 20, 99–117.


  • PhD - Second Language Studies (Linguistics, Germanic Studies)
    Indiana University, Bloomington
  • MA - Germanic Studies
    Indiana University, Bloomington
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