Rachel Burdin

Program Coordinator, Linguistics
Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 862-1088
Office: English, Hamilton Smith Hall Rm 149M, Durham, NH 03824
Pronouns: She/her/hers

Rachel Steindel Burdin’s research focuses on variation in intonation, particularly in Jewish languages and contact situations. Her dissertation, “Variation in the form and function of Jewish English intonation,” completed at The Ohio State University in summer 2016 and partially funded by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, examined variation in the production, perception and social meaning of Yiddish-influenced intonation. This research, and her work more broadly, makes use of a wide variety of techniques, including participant observation, acoustic analyses, perceptual experiments and media studies in order to get a fuller picture of the range and nature of variation in intonation. Her research also looks at intonational meaning more broadly, including work with her colleague Joseph Tyler on the interpretation of rising and plateau contours in listing contexts, and, with colleagues at Ohio State, on the prosodic marking of focus in different languages, with results published in articles in Language, Cognition and Neuroscience and Lingua. Her other research interests include the use of Yiddish in the construction of Jewish identities and places, particularly in areas with smaller Jewish populations, and Slavic/Yiddish contact.

Courses Taught

  • ENGL 719/819: Sociolinguistics Survey
  • ENGL/LING 719/819/719: Sociolinguistics Survey
  • ENGL/LING 728/828/728: Language and Gender
  • ENGL/LING 779/879/779: Linguistic Field Methods
  • ENGL/LING 793/893/793: Phonetics and Phonology
  • ENGL/LING 817/717: Languages in Contact
  • INCO 590: Student Research Experience
  • INCO 790: Adv Rsrch Exp/English


  • Ph.D., Ohio State University
  • M.A., Linguistics, Ohio State University
  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Interests

  • Intonation
  • Jewish English
  • Language contact
  • Phonetics
  • Prosody
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Variation and change
  • Yiddish

Selected Publications

  • Burdin, R. S. (2021). Hebrew, Yiddish and the creation of contesting Jewish places in Kazimierz. JOURNAL OF SOCIOLINGUISTICS, 25(1), 81-102. doi:10.1111/josl.12451

  • Burdin, R. S. (2020). Prosodic Patterns in English Conversation. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH LINGUISTICS, 48(2), 208-212. doi:10.1177/0075424220913611

  • Burdin, R. S., & Tyler, J. (2018). Rises inform, and plateaus remind: Exploring the epistemic meanings of "list intonation" in American English. JOURNAL OF PRAGMATICS, 136, 97-114. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2018.08.013

  • Clopper, C. G., Turnbull, R., & Burdin, R. S. (2018). Assessing predictability effects in connected read speech. LINGUISTICS VANGUARD, 4. doi:10.1515/lingvan-2017-0044

  • Burdin, R. S., Holliday, N., & Reed, P. (n.d.). Rising Above the Standard: Variation in L+H* contour use across 5 varieties of American English. In Speech Prosody 2018. ISCA. doi:10.21437/speechprosody.2018-72

  • Burdin, R. S. (2017). New Notes on the Rise-Fall Contour. Journal of Jewish Languages, 5(2), 145-173. doi:10.1163/22134638-05021184

  • Tyler, J., & Burdin, R. S. (n.d.). Epistemic and attitudinal meanings of rise and rise-plateau contours. In Speech Prosody 2016. ISCA. doi:10.21437/speechprosody.2016-27

  • Turnbull, R., Burdin, R. S., Clopper, C. G., & Tonhauser, J. (2015). Contextual predictability and the prosodic realisation of focus: a cross-linguistic comparison. LANGUAGE COGNITION AND NEUROSCIENCE, 30(9), 1061-1076. doi:10.1080/23273798.2015.1071856

  • Burdin, R. S., Phillips-Bourass, S., Turnbull, R., Yasavul, M., Clopper, C. G., & Tonhauser, J. (2015). Variation in the prosody of focus in head- and head/edge-prominence languages. LINGUA, 165, 254-276. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2014.10.001

  • Burdin, R. S., & Clopper, C. G. (2015). Phonetic reduction, vowel duration, and prosodic structure.. In M. Wolters, J. Livingstone, B. Beattie, R. Smith, M. MacMahon, J. Stuart-Smith, & J. M. Scobbie (Eds.), ICPhS. University of Glasgow. Retrieved from https://www.internationalphoneticassociation.org/

  • Most Cited Publications