Professor Sara Howard


Human Communication Sciences, School of Allied Health Professions, Nursing and Midwifery

Emeritus Professor of Clinical Phonetics

Full contact details

Professor Sara Howard
Human Communication Sciences, School of Allied Health Professions, Nursing and Midwifery
362 Mushroom Lane
S10 2TS

Sara Howard is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Phonetics. After a BA in English and an MA in Linguistics at the University of Leeds, she took a BSc in Speech & Language Therapy at Leeds Metropolitan University and then a PhD in Clinical Phonetics at Sheffield.

Publications include: Case Studies in Clinical Linguistics (Whurr, 1995) and New Directions in Language Development and Disorders (Kluwer, 2000) (both co-edited with Mick Perkins) and The Handbook of Clinical Linguistics (Blackwell, 2008) (co-edited with Martin Ball, Mick Perkins and Nicole Müller).

Her most recent book, co-edited with Anette Lohmander, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm – is "Cleft Palate Speech: Assessment and Intervention" (2011), Wiley-Blackwell. Sara has published and presented widely in the area of clinical phonetics and phonology and is an ex-President of the International Association of Clinical Phonetics & Linguistics.

Research interests

Sara Howard´s main research interests lie in the area of the phonetics/phonology interface in developmental speech impairments (especially cleft lip and palate). She has recently completed an ESRC Research Fellowship on "Connected speech and word juncture in typical and atypical speech development." Her work explores the phonetics of speech development and atypical speech production in different contexts, comparing single word production in formal assessment with the production of longer utterances in real conversational settings. She is particularly interested in the relationship between perceptual and instrumental analyses of speech production and speech impairment, and in the complementary analytic techniques of narrow phonetic transcription and electropalatography (EPG). She has used these approaches to investigate:

  • Connected speech production and word juncture in typical and atypical speech development
  • Speech production in individuals with cleft lip and palate
  • The development of sibilants and affricates in normal and impaired speech production
Research group
  • Nisreen Al Awaji: Speech production in Arabic-speaking children with a cleft palate
  • Joy Newbold: Investigating intelligibility in children with persisting speech difficulties
  • Zoe Jordan: Speech production in ventriloquism: a perceptual and instrumental study
  • Jane Speake: Intelligibility in children with complex developmental speech impairment
Professional activities and memberships
  • President, International Clinical Phonetics & Linguistics Association, 2006-2014
  • Member, REF Sub-panel 3A (Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy)
  • Associate Editor, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics
  • Member of S2S (Sound to Sense), a Marie Curie Research Training Network which brings together phoneticians, computer scientists, psycholinguists, engineers and others from universities across Europe with the aim of exploring new ideas about humans use fine phonetic detail in the production and perception of speech.
  • Member of the White Rose Language and Interaction Research Group, which brings together researchers from the Universities of Sheffield, York, and Leeds with an active interest in Conversation Analysis.
  • Keynote and/or invited international presentations: Lund, 2001; Rolduc, 2001; Lafayette, 2003; Heidelburg, 2006; Aarhus, 2007; Gothenburg, 2008; Madrid, 2009; Geneva, 2010; Tokyo and Kanazawa, Japan, 2010; Charles Sturt University, Australia, 2010; Zagreb, 2010.
Selected publications

1. Howard, S. J. (2013) A phonetic investigation of single word versus connected speech production in children with persisting speech difficulties relating to cleft palate. Cleft Palate – Craniofacial Journal, 50(2): 207-223.
2.Howard, S. J. & Lohmander, A. (eds) (2011) Cleft Palate Speech: Assessment and Intervention. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
3. Howard, S. J. & Heselwood, B. C. (2011) Instrumental and perceptual phonetic analysis: The case for two-tier transcriptions. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 25(11-12), 940-948.
4. Ball, M. J., Perkins, M. R., Mueller, N, & Howard, S. J. (eds) (2008) The Handbook of Clinical Linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.
5. Howard, S. J. (2007) The interplay between articulation and prosody in children with impaired speech: observations from electropalatography and perceptual analysis. Advances in Speech-Language Pathology, 9(1), 20-35.
6. Howard, S.J. (2004) Connected speech processes in developmental speech impairment: Observations from an electropalatographic perspective, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 18, 6-8, 407-417.
7. Howard, S.J. & Heselwood, B. (2002) Learning and teaching phonetic transcription for clinical purposes, Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 16, 371-401.