Assistant professor | English Linguistics

Department of Languages, Literature and Communication | Utrecht University

k.sebregts @

/ˈkun ˈse.bʁɛxts/

Research interests

I’m interested in (socio)phonetic variation and sound change, and their implications for theories of phonological knowledge and the phonetics-phonology interface. I especially enjoy examining the articulatory and acoustic detail of sound changes in progress, to refine our insight into what is behind such changes, and also where and how the variation involved should be located in theories of speakers' knowledge of sound structure. Slightly more succinctly, I'd say I'm a LabPhonologist with variationist tendencies.


My most recent research is on the use of creaky voice (or vocal fry) in the L2 English and L1 Dutch by speakers in a multilingual academic community (an undergraduate campus college) where English is the lingua franca. It's joint research with my colleagues Hielke Vriesendorp, Yosiane White and Hugo Quené. Our initial findings (that these Dutch speakers use creaky voice to roughly the same extent as L1 English speakers have been reported to in other studies, and that it's speaker-dependent, rather than language-dependent) have been published in the latest ICPhS proceedings volume.

II've also worked on voicing in Dutch, in particular that related to past tense allomorphy. Dutch speakers sometimes select a prescriptively incorrect allomorph for the regular (‘weak’) past tense (see Ernestus & Baayen 2001, 2003, 2004). Examining the production and perception of the past tense forms, Patrycja Strycharczuk and I found many mismatches between the rule-based predicted realisations and those actually produced, as well as considerable phonetic overlap in the production of voicing in these forms, and effects of lexical neighbourhood and frequency.

Patrycja Strycharczuk and I also collaborated on an ultrasound study of so-called derived geminates (and the potential resulting degemination) involving Dutch r. The resulting article was published in Journal of Phonetics (2018).

My PhD thesis (2015) was on the large-scale phonetic variation found with Dutch r. In it, I develop a model of progressive sound change to explain the origins, development and current status of Dutch r variation. To untangle the geographical, social and linguistic factors involved, I collected and analysed data from some 400 speakers (~20.000 tokens) in the Netherlands and Flanders. With Jim Scobbie at " Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh) I also collected a small-scale corpus of articulatory (ultrasound) data on Dutch coda approximant r, an innovative variant. The results of this study appeared as a book chapter (2010, see Publications and Presentations), and they are also discussed in my thesis.



  • Sebregts, K. (2015). The Sociophonetics and Phonology of Dutch r [PhD thesis]. Utrecht: LOT. [pdf] [order hard copy here] ⠗

peer-reviewed articles and chapters

  • Sebregts, K., H. Van de Velde, & R. van Hout (2023). Sociophonetics and rhotics. In: C. Strelluf (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Sociophonetics. Routledge. [publisher's website] ⠗
  • Sebregts, K., H. Vriesendorp, H. Quené & Y. White (2023). Creaky voice in L1 Dutch and L2 English. In: R. Skarnitzl & J. Volin (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Prague 2023 (pp. 1841-1845). Guarant International. [pdf] ⠚
  • Sebregts, K. & P. Strycharczuk (2019). Contrast under pressure: the phonetics of Dutch past tense allomorphy. In: Calhoun, S., P. Escudero, M. Tabain & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 (pp. 339-343). Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. [pdf] ⠞
  • Strycharczuk, P. & K. Sebregts (2018). Articulatory dynamics of (de)gemination in Dutch. Journal of Phonetics 68: 138-149. [open access link] ⠗
  • Van der Wouden, T. et al. (2016). Het Taalportaal. Nederlandse Taalkunde 21(1), 157-168. [link]⠖
  • Sebregts, K. (2015). Boundary disputes and sociophonetic variation: schwa-epenthesis in Dutch rC clusters. In: The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015 (Ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences. The University of Glasgow. Paper 0914. [pdf] ⠗
  • Strycharczuk, P. & K. Sebregts (2014). Erring on the side of phonology. In: Auer, A. & B. Köhnlein (Eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 2014. John Benjamins. [pdf] ⠗
  • Botma, E.D., K. Sebregts & D. Smakman (2012). The Phonetics and Phonology of Dutch mid vowels before /l/. Laboratory Phonology 3(2): 273-297. [pdf] ⠇
  • Scobbie, J.M. & K. Sebregts (2010). Acoustic, articulatory and phonological perspectives on allophonic variation of /r/ in Dutch. In: Folli, R. & C. Ulbrich (eds.), Interfaces in Linguistics: New Research Perspectives. Oxford University Press. [proof pdf] [publisher’s website] ⠗
  • Scobbie, J.M., K.Sebregts & J. Stuart-Smith (2009). Dutch rhotic allophony, coda weakening, and the phonetics-phonology interface. QMU Speech Science Research Centre Working Papers, WP-18. [pdf] ⠗
  • Sebregts, K., E. Tops, R. van Bezooijen, H. Van de Velde, R. van Hout, R. Willemyns & W. Zonneveld (2003). Socio-geografische en linguïstische variatie in de uitspraak van (r). Een onderzoek in Nederlandse en Vlaamse grote steden. In: Koole, T, J. Nortier & B. Tahitu, Artikelen van de Vierde Sociolinguistische Conferentie. Eburon, 375-385. [pdf] ⠗

as editor

  • Kager, R., J. Grijzenhout & K. Sebregts (Eds.) 2014. Where the Principles Fail. A Festschrift for Wim Zonneveld on the Occasion of his 64th Birthday. Utrecht: UiL-OTS. ⠵

Selected presentations

abstract peer-reviewed

  • Long-term phonetic convergence vs. speaker-specificity: creaky voice in L2 English. The 19th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon 19), Seoul, Republic of Korea, 27-29 June 2024. (with Hielke Vriesendorp, Hugo Quené, and Yosiane White, poster) ⠚

  • Constraints on phonetic convergence: creaky voice on the college campus. Workshop on phonetic imitation (LabPhon 19 Satellite), Seoul, Republic of Korea, 26 June 2024. (with Hielke Vriesendorp, Hugo Quené, and Yosiane White) ⠚

  • Creaky voice in L1 Dutch and L2 English. ICPhS 2023, Prague, Czechia, 7-11 August 2023. (with Hielke Vriesendorp, Hugo Quené, and Yosiane White, poster) [pdf] ⠚
  • Contrast under pressure: the phonetics of Dutch past tense allomorphy. ICPhS 2019, Melbourne, Australia, 5-9 August 2019. (with Patrycja Strycharczuk) ⠞
  • Changing factors in the rise of approximant r in Dutch. New Ways of Analyzing Variation 45 (NWAV45), Vancouver, Canada, 3-6 November 2016. (with Roeland van Hout and Hans Van de Velde, poster) [pdf] ⠗
  • Articulatory dynamics of degemination in Dutch. The 15th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon15), Ithaca, NY, USA, 13-17 July 2016. (with Patrycja Strycharczuk, poster) ⠗
  • Yorkshire Assimilation at the interface. The 7th Northern Englishes Workshop (NEW7), Edinburgh, UK, 14-15 April 2016. (with Tim Zee) [pdf]⠙
  • /r/-allophony and gemination: An ultrasound study of gestural blending in Dutch. Ultrafest VII, Hong Kong, China, 8-10 December 2015. (with Patrycja Strycharczuk) ⠗
  • From coda to coda, from town across town: The rise of coda approximant r in Dutch. UKLVC 10, York, UK, 1-3 September 2015.⠗
  • Boundary disputes and sociophonetic variation: schwa-epenthesis in Dutch rC clusters. ICPhS 2015, Glasgow, UK, 10-14 August 2015. (poster) ⠗
  • Rhotic relationships: diachrony vs. synchrony in representing /r/. 23rd Manchester Phonology Meeting, Manchester, UK, 28-30 May 2015. (poster) ⠗
  • Erring on the side of phonology. 21st Manchester Phonology Meeting, Manchester, UK, 23-25 May 2013. (with Patrycja Strycharczuk) ⠗
  • Representational ambiguity and the phonetics of Dutch past tense formation. The 13th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon13), Stuttgart, Germany, 27-29 July 2012. (with Patrycja Strycharczuk, poster) [pdf] ⠞
  • Functional, non-functional or multi-functional? Of covert gestures and ‘free’ variation. Old World Conference in Phonology 8 (OCP8), Marrakech, Morocco, 20-22 January 2011. (with James M Scobbie) [abstract] ⠗
  • Pre-lateral mid-vowel colouring and the Dutch tense-lax contrast. Old World Conference in Phonology 7 (OCP7), Nice, France, 28-30 January 2010. (with Bert Botma and Dick Smakman) ⠇
  • From subtle to gross variation: an ultrasound tongue imaging study of Dutch and Scottish English /r/. 10th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon), Paris, France, 29 June-1 July 2006. (with James M. Scobbie and Jane Stuart-Smith, poster) ⠗


  • That is what we R: phonetics and phonology in rhotic identity. Plenary, ‘r-atics 6, Paris, France, 7-8 November 2019. ⠗
  • Phonological identity of Dutch rhotics: variationist and articulatory evidence. Rhotiques: l’Invariant et des Avatars, Journée d’Étude, Paris 8, France, 23 March 2018.⠗
  • The devil is in the articulatory detail: dialectological and phonological implications of Dutch r variation. Methods in Dialectology XV, Groningen, Netherlands, 11-15 August 2014. [abstract] ⠗
  • Dutch r variation: potential and problems for exemplar modelling. Exemplar-based Modelling in Phonology Workshop, Freiburg, Germany, 26-27 September 2011. ⠗

    Curriculum Vitae


    2015 PhD in Linguistics, Utrecht University

    Thesis: The sociophonetics and phonology of Dutch r

    🏆  Awarded AVT/Anéla Dissertation Prize, for best PhD thesis in Linguistics 2014-15. [Judges’ report (in Dutch)]
    🏆  Awarded Academische Jaarprijs, Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde, for best PhD thesis in Dutch linguistics

    2001 MA in English Language and Literature (cum laude), Leiden University

    Thesis: English [r]-liaison: rule-based theories, Government Phonology and Optimality Theory

    Teaching qualification

    2016 BKO (Basiskwalificatie Onderwijs), Utrecht University

    University Teaching Qualification



    Assistant Professor of English linguistics | Utrecht University, Dept of Languages, Literature and Communication


    Lecturer in English language and linguistics | Utrecht University, Dept of Languages, Literature and Communication


    Researcher | Meertens Institute, Amsterdam


    Lecturer in English linguistics | University of Leiden, LUCL/English Language and Culture


    English teacher | Hogeschool Utrecht, Faculty of Education, English programme


    Lecturer in English language and linguistics | Utrecht University, Dept Modern Languages


    Lecturer in English linguistics | University of Leiden, English Language and Culture


    Lecturer in English proficiency | Utrecht University, Institute of Foreign Languages


    Lecturer in Dutch linguistics | Utrecht University, Institute of Dutch


    Lecturer in English linguistics | University of Leiden, Dept of English


    Junior Researcher | Utrecht University, UiL-OTS

    Teaching experience

    Utrecht University
    I’ve been a member of the English department at Utrecht since 2011 (after previous stints as an adjunct lecturer, see above), teaching on a range of courses in linguistics. I teach courses in phonetics, phonology and sociolinguistics. I also supervise BA and MA theses on these topics. I am currently programme coordinator of the BA degree in English Language and Culture.

    University of Leiden
    I taught at the Leiden English department for two-and-a-half (non-consecutive) years between 2003 and 2010 on almost all linguistics courses in the BA programme.

    Hogeschool Utrecht (HU University of Applied Sciences)
    I taught at the HU for three years (2007-2010), on courses in linguistics, English language proficiency and teaching methodology at UG and PG level.

    Academic service and memberships

    Journal peer reviewer

    Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics; Glossa; Isogloss; Journal of the Acoustical Society of America; Journal of Germanic Linguistics, Journal of the IPA; Journal of Phonetics; Language and Speech; Language Dynamics and Change; Linguistics in the Netherlands; Nederlandse Taalkunde, Taal en Tongval.
    Chapter peer reviewer

    Language Variation: European Perspectives VIII (Benjamins, 2021)

    The future of dialects. Selected papers from Methods XV (Language Science Press, 2016)
    Book proposal reviewer

    Cambridge University Press, 2021

    Routledge academic textbooks, 2017

    Bloomsbury Publishing, philosophy and linguistics, 2015
    Conference board member/reviewer

    International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences, 2019, 2023; Laboratory Phonology, 2020, 2022; Manchester Phonology Meeting, 2019-present; Old World Conference in Phonology, 2016-2019.

    Sociolinguistics Circle 2019, April 2019, Utrecht

    ‘r-atics 5, the fifth international symposium on rhotics, May 2016, Leeuwarden.

    Association for Laboratory Phonology; AVT (Dutch Linguistics Association)