Portrait of Dr Tamara Rathcke

Dr Tamara Rathcke

Senior Lecturer in Linguistics


Dr Tamara Rathcke joined English Language and Linguistics at Kent as a Lecturer in 2013, following four years of postdoctoral research at the Glasgow University Laboratory of Phonetics in 2009-2013. She received her PhD (Comparative intonational phonology of Russian and German) from the Ludgwig-Maximilians-University of Munich in 2009 and an MA in Phonetics and Digital Signal Processing from the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel in 2003. Back in her home country, she studied German Language and Literature at the Immanuel-Kant-University of Kaliningrad from 1994 to 1998.
Tamara’s primary expertise is in phonetics and phonology, with a special focus on suprasegmental aspects of speech and language. Much of her research crosses disciplinary boundaries to psychology and music. Her paper 'When Speech Sounds Like Music' was featured in the September 2014 issue of APA PeePs (Particularly Exciting Experiments in Psychology), a collaboration between six of APA’s experimental psychology journals. Her collaborative research in this area has been supported by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust.
Tamara serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the International Phonetic Association, and regularly reviews for conferences, journals, publishers and funders. 

Research interests

Dr Tamara Rathcke researches at the interfaces between phonetics, music and psychology. She is currently holding two research grants to support her work: 

  • A three-year Leverhulme Trust research grant studies the controversial topic of language rhythm from a cross-linguistic, typological perspective. The project’s methodological approach capitalises on the recent advances made by music psychology and movement sciences in the understanding of rhythm through studying perception-action coupling in sensorimotor synchronisation tasks. The results are expected to lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying rhythmic experience in language and a more elaborate linguistic concept of rhythm. 
  • A two-year project funded by the British Academy studies individual variation in the perception of the so-called 'speech-to-song illusion', and seeks to illuminate how the link between language and music is mediated by cognitive abilities and previous experience of the listener. See the Speech-to-Song Illusion website for more information.  

Dr Tamara Rathcke is available to supervise dissertation projects in a range of topics in phonetics and phonology, including language and dialect comparisons, rhythm and intonation, phonetic aspects of language variation and change, pronunciation training for L2 acquisition. Students with an interest in links between language and music, and how those can be exploited in methods of foreign language acquisition are particularly welcome to discuss their projects.


Tamara teaches phonetics and phonology, language variation and change, speech perception and psycholinguistics at undergraduate and postgraduate level. 

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