Getting Started


Phon is a software platform that greatly facilitates a number of tasks related to the analysis of transcript-based and acoustically-measured speech data. Built to support research in phonological development (including babbling), second language acquisition, and phonological disorders, Phon can also be used for virtually all types of phonological investigations (e.g. loanword phonology, fieldwork in phonology, sociolinguistic studies). Phon supports multimedia data linkage, unit segmentation (e.g. utterance, word), multiple-blind transcription, automatic labeling of data (features, syllabification), and systematic comparisons between target (model) and actual (produced) phonological forms. Phon is also equipped with many facilities for data analysis, including query methods for phonology (e.g. phones, features, syllables, …) as well as acoustic data.

Version 2 of Phon brings together two of the most important areas of empirical investigation in the are of child phonology, as it integrates transcript-based analyses of phonological data with the facilities for acoustic analysis provided by Praat. With this new version of Phon, and in addition to the functions listed above, the user can now:

  • Import existing TextGrids into Phon sessions
  • Generate TextGrids from existing Phon records
  • Visualize TextGrids directly into Phon
  • Send TextGrids to Praat for editing in a single click
  • Run speech analysis functions directly from the Phon Query menu
  • Export speech measurement data for further analysis

All of these functions are accessible through a user-friendly graphical interface. Databases managed within Phon can also be queried using a powerful search system adapted for the needs of the phonologist. This software program works on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux platforms and is compliant with the CHILDES TalkBank XML data format. Phon is being made freely available to the community as open-source software. Phon facilitates data exchange among researchers and is currently used for the elaboration of the shared PhonBank database, designed to support empirical needs of research in all areas of phonology and phonological development.

Citing Phon

Hedlund, Gregory & Yvan Rose. 2016. Phon 2.1.8 [Computer Software]. Retrieved from ​

Rose, Yvan, Brian MacWhinney, Rodrigue Byrne, Gregory Hedlund, Keith Maddocks, Philip O’Brien & Todd Wareham. 2006. Introducing Phon: A Software Solution for the Study of Phonological Acquisition. In David Bamman, Tatiana Magnitskaia & Colleen Zaller (eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. 489-500.

Rose, Yvan & Brian MacWhinney. 2014. The PhonBank Project: Data and Software-Assisted Methods for the Study of Phonology and Phonological Development. In Jacques Durand, Ulrike Gut & Gjert Kristoffersen (eds.),  The Oxford Handbook of Corpus Phonology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 308-401.

Discussion group & Support

We encourage you to subscribe to the discussion group for helpful information and technical support. Please click on the following link to request membership to the PhonBank (or other TalkBank-related) discussion group:


Funding: Current development of Phon and PhonBank is supported by the National Institutes of Health. Earlier development of Phon was funded by grants from National Science Foundation, Canada Fund for Innovation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Petro-Canada Fund for Young Innovators, and the Office of the Vice-President (Research) and the Faculty of Arts at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Dictionaries: Built-in dictionaries of pronounced forms were obtained from generous organizations and people, to whom we are indebted:

Special thanks: While it is impossible to name everyone who ended up being involved in one way or another in this project, we owe special thanks to a wonderful group of early adopters and beta testers, students and researchers alike, without whom it would have been much more difficult to produce the current software program. We are also grateful to Paul Boersma for this tremendous collaboration toward the interactions between Praat and related functions within Phon 2.