Georgia Zellou


Position Title
Associate Professor of Linguistics

278 Kerr Hall


  • Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2012
  • M.A., Linguistics, Stony Brook University (SUNY), 2007
  • B.A., Linguistics & Anthropology, University of Florida, 2005 (Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa)


Georgia Zellou is Associate Professor of linguistics at UC Davis, where she has taught since 2014.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and also spent part of her childhood years in New Jersey and south Florida. Professor Zellou received a bachelor of arts in linguistics and anthropology from the University of Florida, a master of arts in linguistics from Stony Brook University, and a doctorate in linguistics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania from 2012 to 2014.

Professor Zellou’s passion for teaching and science stems from her early childhood experiences. Her father, a college professor, used to bring her to his chemistry classes when she was a child. During summers, her family often traveled to visit friends living in Tobago (a tiny island near Venezuela). That was the origin of her interest in people from all different cultural backgrounds. Although she initially wanted to become an anthropologist, it was linguistics – the study of the most interesting human behavior – that fascinated her.

Research Focus

Professor Zellou’s research focus is in the areas of phonetics, speech perception, and laboratory phonology. Her research program focuses on understanding how phonetic detail is represented by the cognitive system through the study of variations in fine-grained pronunciations of speech sounds. Ultimately, her questions aim to address how phonetic and phonological patterns are abstracted, evolve and are used, functionally and pragmatically, in language and communication.


For more information, check out Professor Zellou's LSA "Member Spotlight" profile: 

Selected Publications

Zellou, G., Dahan, D., Embick, D. (2017) Imitation of coarticulatory vowel nasality across words and time. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. 32(6), pp. 776-791.

Zellou, G. (2017) Individual differences in the production and perception of nasal coarticulation and perceptual compensation. Journal of Phonetics. 61, pp. 13-29.

Zellou, G. (2017) Specificity for coarticulatory vowel nasality in lexical representations. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142(4), 375-381.

Zellou, G., Scarborough, R., & Nielsen, K. (2016) Phonetic imitation of coarticulatory vowel nasality. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140, pp. 3560-3575.

Zellou, G., & Scarborough, R. (2015) Lexically conditioned phonetic variation in motherese: Age-of-acquisition and other word-specific factors in infant- and adult-directed speech. Laboratory Phonology, 6(3-4), pp. 305-336.

Scarborough, R. Zellou, G., Mirzayan, A., & Rood, D. (2015) Phonetic and phonological patterns of nasality in Lakota vowels. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 45(03), pp.289-309.

Barreda, S., & Zellou, G. (2015) Speaker identity and spectral changes in word recognition. Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS XVIII).

Tamminga, M., & Zellou, G. (2015) Cross-dialectal differences in nasality and nasal coarticulation. Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS XVIII).

Zellou, G., & Tamminga, M. (2014) Nasal coarticulation changes over time in Philadelphia English. Journal of Phonetics, 47, pp. 18-35. []

Scarborough, R., & Zellou, G. (2013) Continua of clarity: “Clear” speech authenticity and lexical neighborhood density effects in production and perception. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(5), pp. 3793-3807. []


Linguistics 1: Intro to Linguistics

Linguistics 105: Language and the Mind

Linguistics 103A: Linguistic Analysis 1: Sound Structures

Linguistics 111: Phonological Theory

Linguistics 253: Graduate Seminar: Speech Perception

Linguistics 211: Advanced Phonological Theory

Linguistics 212: Advanced Phonetics


Hellman Foundation Fellow, UC Davis, 2017-2018.

ISS Junior Faculty Research Grant, UC Davis, 2018.

Visiting Research Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies/ Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing, Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat, Munich, Germany, May 2016.