Universiteit Leiden

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M. Y. Priscilla Lam

PhD candidate

M.Y.P. Lam
+31 71 527 2125

Priscilla Lam is a PhD candidate at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. As part of the Melody in Speech project, Priscilla’s research investigates the prosody of tone languages. She examines the interaction between tone and intonation systems with a focus on West African languages, namely Ewe. She also has past research experience in Tanka Yue (Sinitic) and Shilluk (Nilotic).

More information about M. Y. Priscilla Lam

Fields of interest

  • Experimental phonetics
  • Language production and processing  
  • Tone and intonation
  • Descriptive linguistics
  • African languages
  • Asian languages
  • Language documentation and revitalization


My main research interests are in phonetics, prosody and tone languages. As a member of the Melody in Speech project, in my PhD project I explore the interaction between lexical-level tone and sentence-level intonation in Ewe, a tone language spoken in West Africa. Specifically, I investigate Ewe question prosody. My research involves collecting primary data using descriptive and experimental methods. While my current research focuses on Ewe, I have an areal interest in Africa and Asia, where typologically different tone systems are found. In addition to phonetics, I am also interested in minority language documentation and revitalization.

Prior to coming to Leiden University, I completed my undergraduate degree in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. In my undergraduate dissertation, I investigated morphophonological interactions in Shilluk (Western Nilotic). I then pursued my master’s degree in Linguistics at the University of Ottawa. My master’s thesis examines the tone system of Tanka 水上話, a Yue (Cantonese) dialect spoken by the traditionally boat-dwelling people in Hong Kong. For my undergraduate dissertation and master’s thesis, I worked with language consultants (online and in-person respectively) to collect phonetic data.  

Curriculum vitae

2022-present PhD candidate, Leiden University

2021-2022 Master of Arts in Linguistics, University of Ottawa
2019-2020 Optional Full Year Abroad International Exchange, University of British Columbia

2017-2021 Master of Arts with Honours - First Class, University of Edinburgh


PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL promovendus

Work address

Reuvensplaats 3-4
2311 BE Leiden
Room number 0.79


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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