This image shows Sabine Zerbian

Sabine Zerbian

Prof. Dr.

Professor Phonology
Institute of Linguistics
Division of English Linguistics (IfLA)


Keplerstr. 17
70174 Stuttgart
Room: 4.047

Office Hours

By appointment via email.


  • Typological variation, learner variation and contact variation in phonology
  • South African English
  • Phonology and tonology of Southern Bantu languages
  • Experimental phonology

Altmann, H. & S. Zerbian. (accepted). English phonology. In: Stefanie Dipper/Ralf Klabunde/Wiltrud Mihatsch (Hrsg.): Linguistik im Sprachvergleich. Germanistik – Romanistik – Anglistik. Springer Verlag.

Turco, G. & Zerbian, S. 2021. Processing of Prosody and Semantics in Sepedi and L2 English. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.

Schubö, F. & S. Zerbian. 2020. Phonetic content and phonological structure affect pre-boundary lengthening in German. Proceedings of 10th Speech Prosody, Tokyo, Japan. (pp. 111-115)

Böttcher, M., & Zerbian, S. 2020. Stressed pronouns in spontaneous English. Proceedings of 10th Speech Prosody, Tokyo, Japan. (pp. 131-135)

Zuban, Y., Rathcke, T., &  Zerbian, S. 2020. Intonation of yes-no questions by heritage speakers of Russian. Proceedings of 10th Speech Prosody, Tokyo, Japan. (pp. 96-100).

Zerbian, S. (2019). Aspects of sentence intonation in Black South African English. In R. Hickey (Ed.), English in multilingual South Africa (pp. 329-349). Cambridge University Press.

Zerbian, S., & Böttcher, M.  2019. Stressed pronouns in mono- and bilingual German. In S. Calhoun et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (2640-2645).

Zerbian, S. & G. Turco. 2019. Processing focus and accents across dialects. In S. Calhoun et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (2272-2276).

Schauffler, N., M. Zellers & S. Zerbian. 2019. Stress shift and prosodic focus marking in L1 and L2 English. In S. Calhoun et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (2499-2503).

Jenne, S., A. Schweitzer, S. Zerbian, N. T. Vu. 2019. Phonological Error Detection for Pronunciation Training Using Neural Spectrogram Recognition. In S. Calhoun et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (2961-2965).

Zeller, J., Zerbian, S. & T. Cook. 2017. Prosodic evidence for syntactic phrasing in Zulu. In: Hyman, L.H. & van der Wal, J. (eds.) The Conjoint-Disjoint Alternation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Pp. 259-328

Adda, G., Stüker, S., Adda-Decker, M., Ambouroue, O., Besaciere, L., Blachone, D., Bonneau-Maynard, H., Godard, P., Hamlaoui, F., Idiatov, D., Kouarat, G., Lamel, L. Makasso, E., Rialland, A., Van de Velde, M. Yvon, F., Zerbian, S. 2016. Breaking the Unwritten Language Barrier: The BULB Project. Procedia Computer Science 81, Pages 8–14. Proceedings from SLTU-2016 5th Workshop on Spoken Language Technologies for Under-resourced languages 09-12 May 2016 Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

M. Raborife, G. Turco & S. Zerbian. 2016. The prosody of focus and emphasis in Sepedi. Proceedings of PRASA (Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa). Stellenbosch. Pp. 15-18.

S. Zerbian. 2016. Intonation in Sotho-Tswana. In: L.J. Downing & A. Rialland (eds.). Intonation in African Tone Languages. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Pp. 393-433.

S. Zerbian, G. Turco, N. Schauffler, M. Zellers, A. Riester. 2016. Contrastive topic constituents in German. Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016, 345- 349. Boston.

S. Zerbian & F. Kügler. 2015. Downstep in Tswana (Southern Bantu). Proceedings of the ICPhS Glasgow.

S. Zerbian. 2015. Prosodic marking of focus in transitive sentences in varieties of South African English. In Gut, U., Fuchs, R. & Wunder, E. (eds.) Universal or diverse paths to English Phonology. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 209-240.

S. Zerbian. 2015. Markedness considerations in L2 Prosodic Focus and Givenness Marking. In: Delais-Roussarie, E., Avanzi, M., Herment, S. (eds.) Prosody and Language in Contact: L2 Acquisition, Attrition and Languages in Multilingual Situations. Berlin: Springer. Pp. 7-27.

Zerbian, S. 2015. Syntactic and prosodic focus in contact varieties of South African English. English World-Wide 36(2).

Raborife, M.I., Ewert, S. & S. Zerbian. 2015. Improving a tone labelling algorithm for Sesotho. Language Resources and Evaluation 49: 19-50.

Güldemann, T., Zerbian, S., Zimmermann, M. 2015. Variation in Information Structure with Special Reference to Africa. Annual Review of Linguistics (1): 155-178.

S. Zerbian. 2013. "Onset Consonant Clusters in Tswana: Cw-sequences and affricates". In: Karsten Legere (ed.) Studies in Bantu Linguistics and Languages: Papers in memory of Professor Rugatiri Mekacha. Bayreuth: Bayreuth African Studies. pp. 143-165.

S. Zerbian. 2013. "Prosodic marking of narrow focus across varieties of South African English". English World Wide 34(1): 26-47.

S. Zerbian. 2012. "Perception and interpretation of intonational prominence in varieties of South African English". Hrsg. K. Braunmüller & C. Gabriel, Multilingual Individuals and Multilingual Societies.  Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam. 335-348.

S. Zerbian. 2012. "Morpho-phonological and morphological minimality in Tswana monosyllabic stems (Southern Bantu)". Hrsg. Thomas Stolz, Nicole Nau & Cornelia Stroh. Monosyllables: from phonology to typology. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. 131-148.

S. Zerbian. 2011. "A guide to tones in Tswana locatives". South African Journal of African Languages (SAJAL), 31(2): 254-264.

S. Zerbian. 2011. "Intensity in narrow focus marking in varieties of South African English". Proceedings of ICPhS 2011, Hong Kong.

M. Raborife, S. Ewert and S. Zerbian. 2010. "An African Solution for an African Problem: A step towards perfection". In Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual Symposium of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

S. Zerbian. 2010. "Tones of the Tswana relative clause", ZAS Papers in Linguistics (ZASPiL) 53: 227-242.

M. Swerts und S. Zerbian. 2010. "Intonational differences between L1 and L2 English in South Africa", Phonetica 67: 127-146.

S. Zerbian. 2010. "Recent developments in the typology of intonation", Linguistics and Language Compass 4/9: 874-889.

S. Zerbian und E. Barnard. 2010. "Realization of two adjacent high tones - Acoustic evidence from Northern Sotho", Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 28(2): 101-121.

E. Barnard und S. Zerbian. 2010. "From Tone to Pitch in Sepedi", in Proceedings of the Workshop on Spoken Languages Technologies for Under-Resourced Languages (SLTU'10), May 2010

S. Zerbian und E. Barnard. 2010. "Word-level prosody in Sotho-Tswana", Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010, Chicago.

S. Zerbian, S. Genzel, und F. Kügler. 2010. "Experimental work on prosodically-marked information structure in selected African languages (Afroasiatic and Niger-Congo), Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010, Chicago.

S. Zerbian. 2009. "A contrastive analysis of the sound structure of Sotho-Tswana for second-language acquisition", Journal for Language Teaching/ Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 43/2: 131-152.

S. Zerbian und E. Barnard. 2009.  "Phonetics and phonology of single high tone alignment in Sepedi", Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (SALALS) 27(4): 357-379.

D. Hartmann und S. Zerbian. 2009.  "Rhoticity in Black South African English- A sociolinguistic study", Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (SALALS) 27(2): 135-148.

S. Zerbian, L.J. Downing & F. Kügler. 2009. "Introduction", Lingua 119(6): 1-10.

S. Zerbian, Downing, L.J. & F. Kügler (eds.) 2009. Tone and intonation from a typological perspective – Papers from the 2nd TIE conference. Special Issue Lingua.

S. Zerbian und E. Barnard. 2008. "Phonetics of intonation in South African Bantu languages", Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (SALALS) 26(2): 235-254.

S. Zerbian und M. Krifka. 2008. "Quantification across Bantu languages", In: L. Matthewson (ed.) Cross-Linguistic Perspectives on the Semantics of Quantification. Bingley: Emerald, pp. 383-414.

A. E. Kotzé und S. Zerbian. 2008. "On the Trigger for Palatalization in the Sotho languages", Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 29(1): 67-95.

S. Zerbian. 2007. "Investigating prosodic focus marking in Northern Sotho". In: Hartmann, K., Aboh, E. & Zimmermann, M. (eds.) Focus strategies: evidence from African languages. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.

S. Zerbian. 2007. "The Subject/Object-Asymmetry in Northern Sotho". In: Schwabe, K. & S. Winkler (eds.) Information Structure and the Architecture of Grammar: A Typological Perspective. John Benjamins.

S. Zerbian. 2007. "Phonological Phrasing in Northern Sotho."  The Linguistic Review 24: 233-262.

S. Zerbian. 2006. "Questions in Northern Sotho." Linguistische Berichte 208: 385-405.

S. Zerbian. 2006. "Inversion structures in Northern Sotho." Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (SALALS) 24(3), N. Thwala (ed.), pp. 361-376.

S. Zerbian. 2006. Expression of information structure in the Bantu language Northern Sotho. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 45. ZAS: Berlin

Downing, L., Marten, L. & S. Zerbian (eds.) 2006. ZAS Papers in Bantu Grammar and Description (ZASPiL 43), Berlin: ZAS.

S. Zerbian. 2006. "High Tone Spread in Northern Sotho varieties." In: Mugane, J., Hutchinson, J.P. & D. Worman (eds.): Selected Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics -- African Languages and Linguistics in Broad Perspective, Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. pp 147-157.

  • Dialectology
  • L2 intonation
  • Phonology-Morphology Interface
  • Bantu phonology and morphology
  • Intonation
  • Basic Phonetics & Phonology
  • since April 2013: Professor English Linguistics (Phonology) Universität Stuttgart
  • since June 2012: Honorary Research Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • 2010-2013: Juniorprofessor Experimental Phonology, Universität Potsdam
  • 2007-2009: Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • 2002-2007: Research fellow, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS), Berlin
  • 2006: Doctoral dissertation "The expression of information structure in Northern Sotho (Bantu)"
  • 2002-2006: Doctoral student, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • 2002: Magistra Artium in German Linguistics, English and Psychology (HUB, FU Berlin)
  • 1999: Exchange student, Universiteit van Amsterdam
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