Jon Barnes

Associate Professor of Linguistics
Chair of the Linguistics Department
Jon Barnes
Office phone: 617-353-6222
Fax: 617-358-4641
Office number: Linguistics 119
Office address: Linguistics Department, 621 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Office link:
Office hours: Spring 2021: M 1-2::30, T 2-3:30

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:


Spring 2021

Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS LX 403

Phonological Analysis

A1 Barnes TR 8:00-9:15 CAS 211
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 GRS LX 703; Previously offered as CAS LX 513 "Phonology"]

Fall 2021 (tentative)

Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

Advanced Topics in Phonology

A1 Barnes F 2:30-5:15 TBA
Topics vary by semester.
[Meets with GRS LX 706]

Spring 2022 (tentative)

Course number Course title Section Instructor Days Time Room

CAS LX 250

Introduction to Linguistics

A1 Barnes TR 9:30-10:45 TBA
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