Jon Barnes

Associate Professor of Linguistics
Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies
Jon Barnes
Office phone: 617-353-6222
Fax: 617-358-4641
Office number: Linguistics 119
Office address: Linguistics, 621 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Office hours: Fall 2018: M 9:30-11, T 3:30-5; or by appointment

BA, Russian Language and Literature, Columbia University
MA, Slavic Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
MA, PhD, Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

Research interests include phonetics, phonology, prosody and intonation, speech perception, language change, Slavic, Turkic, and Uralic languages.

Prof. Jonathan Barnes is continuing his collaborative research (supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF)) on tone and intonation patterns across languages. Current or upcoming projects include a comparison of pitch perception sensitivity in speakers of languages with tone systems differing in complexity (e.g., Mandarin and Cantonese), an investigation of whether and how pitch is processed differently in speech and music perception (featuring the famous speech-to-song illusion:, and an analysis of the remarkably complex tone system of Shilluk, a Western Nilotic language spoken mostly in South Sudan. See his blog for information about recent publications:


Fall 2018

Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

GRS LX 706

Advanced Topics in Phonology: Features and cues in representation and realization

web A1 Barnes TR 9:30-10:45 CGS 315
Distinctive feature theory from Structuralism to the present. Issues include the putative universality of distinctive features, their phonetic underpinnings, tension among the various roles features play in the grammar, and applicability of features to phonology beyond consonants and vowels. [Prereq: CAS LX 403/ GRS LX 703 Phonology or equivalent (or permission of the instructor)]

CAS LX 250

Introduction to Linguistics

web A1 Barnes TR 2-3:15 LSE B 01
Study of the fundamental properties that all languages share, and of how languages differ, with respect to structure (sound system, word formation, syntax), expression of meaning, acquisition, variation, and change; cultural and artistic uses of languages; comparison of oral, written, and signed languages. [Prereq: none]
  • Students signing up for CAS LX 250 A1 should also sign up for one of the Friday discussion sections.
  • Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas:
    • Scientific Inquiry I
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking

Spring 2019 (tentative)

Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

GRS LX 691

Linguistic Field Methods

A1 Barnes MWF 11:15-12:05 TBA
An in-depth investigation of the phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and lexicon of an African or other non-Indo-European language. Weekly sessions with language consultant. [Prereq: CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with CAS LX 391; Previously offered as CAS LX 501 "Linguistic Field Methods"]

GRS LX 703

Phonological Analysis

A1 Barnes MWF 9:05-9:55 TBA
Survey of phonological theory and analysis, with focus on crosslinguistic typology of phonological systems. Phonological reasoning and argumentation skills are developed. Empirical coverage includes contrast, distinctive features, rules and constraints, opacity, tone, syllabification, stress, and interactions with morphology and syntax. [Prereq: CAS LX 301/ GRS LX 601 (or CAS LX 510) or consent of instructor.]
[Meets with CAS LX 403; Previously offered as CAS LX 513 "Phonology"]