Broadly, I am interested in speech perception and production, and there is a strong theme of cross-linguistic and cross-dialectal inquiry in my work. More specifically, my research program focuses on the role of experience and exposure to phonetic and phonological knowledge, how social knowledge may be manifested phonetically, and the mental representation of phonetic and phonological knowledge. A significant portion of my work explores how interacting language systems influence one another on a phonetic level. I have investigated this within bilingual speakers (English and Northern Paiute), across dialects (Australian and New Zealand Englishes), and within dialects (American English). I also have a strong interest in language documentation and description; with colleagues at University of California, Berkeley, I conducted fieldwork on Northern Paiute (Numic; Uto-Aztecan).

Please see my lab website for more information about what my students and I are up to.

Courses Currently Teaching

Selected Publications

Babel, M., Senior, B., & Bishop, S. (2019). Do social preferences matter in lexical retuning?. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology10(1), 4. DOI:

Senior, B., Hui, J. & Babel, M. (2018). Liu vs. Luke? Name influence on voice recall. Applied Psycholinguistics, 39(6), 1117-1146. doi:10.1017/S0142716418000267 .

Senior, B. & Babel, M. (2018) The role of unfamiliar accents in competing speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 143 (2), 931-942.

Wong, P., & Babel, M. (2017). Perceptual identification of talker ethnicity in Vancouver English. Journal of Sociolinguistics21(5), 603-628.

Szakay, A., Babel, M., & King, J. (2016). Social categories are shared across bilinguals’ lexicons. Journal of Phonetics, 59, 92-109.

Abel, J., & Babel, M. (2016). Cognitive Load Reduces Perceived Linguistic Convergence Between Dyads. Language and Speech, 0023830916665652.

McAuliffe, M., & Babel, M. (2016). Stimulus-directed attention attenuates lexically-guided perceptual learning. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(3), 1727-1738.

Babel, M., and Russell, J. (2015). Expectations and Speech Intelligibility. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137 (5), 2823-2833.

Babel, M., and McGuire, G. (2015). Perceptual Fluency and Judgments of Vocal Aesthetics and Stereotypicality. Cognitive Science, 39 (4), 766-787.

Babel, M., McGuire, G., Walters, S., and Nichols, A. (2014). Novelty and social preference in phonetic accommodation. Journal of Laboratory Phonology, 5 (1), 123-150.

Babel, M., and Munson, B. (2014). Producing socially meaningful linguistic variation. The Oxford Handbook of Language Production, V. Ferreira, M. Goldrick, and M. Miozza (Eds).

Babel, M., McGuire, G., and King, J. (2014). Towards a More Nuanced View of Vocal Attractiveness. PLOS ONE.

Babel, M., McAuliffe, M., and Haber, G. (2013). Can mergers-in-progress be unmerged in speech accommodation?. Frontiers in Psychology .

Babel, M., Garrett, A., Houser, M., and Toosarvandani, M. (2013). Descent and diffusion in language diversification: A study of Western Numic dialectology . International Journal of American Linguistics, 79 (4), 445-489.

Babel, M., and McGuire, G. (2013). Listener expectations and gender bias in nonsibilant fricative perception. Phonetica, 70 (1-2), 117-151 .

McGuire, G., and Babel, M. (2012). A cross-modal account for synchronic and diachronic patterns of /f/ and /θ/ in English. Journal of Laboratory Phonology, 3 (2), 251-272 .

McAuliffe, M., and Babel, M. (2012). Predictability affects vowel dispersion and dynamics in the Buckeye Corpus. Proceedings of Interspeech.

Babel, M., and Bulatov, D. (2012). The role of fundamental frequency in phonetic accommodation. Language and Speech, 55 (2), 231-248.

Babel, M. (2012). Evidence for phonetic and social selectivity in spontaneous phonetic imitation. Journal of Phonetics, 40, pp. 177-189.

Babel, Molly. (2010). Dialect convergence and divergence in New Zealand English. Language in Society, 39 (4), 437-456.

Babel, Molly & Johnson, Keith. (2010). Accessing psycho-acoustic perception with speech sounds. Laboratory Phonology, 1(1), 179-205.

Johnson, Keith & Babel, Molly. (2010). On the perceptual basis of distinctive features: Evidence from the perception of fricatives by Dutch and English speakers. Journal of Phonetics, 38 (1), 127-136.

Babel, Molly. (2009). The phonetics and phonology of obsolescence in Northern Paiute. In Variation in Indigenous Minority Languages, Preston & Stanford (eds.), Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Munson, Benjamin & Molly Babel. (2007). Loose lips and silver tongues, or projecting sexual orientation through speech.Language and Linguistic Compass.

Munson, Benjamin & Molly Babel. (2005). The sequential cueing effect in children’s speech production. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26 (2), 157-174.