Dr Chenzi Xu

Dr Chenzi Xu

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

University of Oxford

Welcome! I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Oxford. Before the fellowship, I worked on a forensic phonetics project Person-specific Automatic Speaker Recognition at the University of York. I obtained my DPhil (PhD) in Linguistics at the University of Oxford, specialising in phonetics. Speech sounds of all kinds never fail to fascinate me. Abundant information ranging from lexical meanings and discourse structure to emotions, attitudes, and speaker identity is inherent in speech. I’m interested in exploring the ways different layers of meanings encode in speech.

I am keen in experimental and computational approaches to phonetic research and encourage open and reproducible research workflow. Here I wrote step-by-step guide on topics in phonetic research, available in the Resources section.


  • Voice quality
  • Prosody
  • Neutral tone
  • Speech perception
  • Plastic Mandarin
  • Speech technology


  • DPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology, 2018-2022

    University of Oxford

  • MPhil (Distinction) in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology, 2016-2018

    University of Oxford

  • BA Hons (First Class Honours) in English Studies for the Professions; Minor in Translation and Bilingual Communication, 2012-2016

    The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

  • University of California Education Abroad Programme, 2015

    University of California, Berkeley

More about me

Before my journey at Oxford, I spent half a year at the University of California, Berkeley for academic exchange and about 4 years in Hong Kong completing my undergraduate programme in broad discipline of language, culture, and communication at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Growing up in a mountainous region in China, I was surrounded by a variety of Xiang dialects from an early age. When I was a child, mimicking different dialects was of great fun. It seems, however, the rise of Mandarin has been overshadowing many local dialects. Meanwhile, new regional Mandarin accents are emerging too. I am enthusiastic about maintaining language diversity and probing the social meanings of language varieties. I have been working on a Plastic Mandarin project and conducted fieldwork collecting speech data from urban high school students in Changsha, Hunan, China.

I worked as an intern at a tech start-up Mo Intelligence Ltd, during which I developed skills in building Android phone apps and some experience in speech technology including speech-to-text and speaker identification.

I enjoy films and gain energy from travels. Painting and cooking without a recipe are relaxing for me. Hiking, Bachata dance, and yoga are my nourishing activities. I am learning piano by myself and exploring how to take better photographs using my camera. As a child I aspired to be a writer, but unfortunately my blog is still quite empty without any updates for years.



Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow

Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics, University of Oxford

Aug 2022 – Feb 2024 York, UK
  • Principal Investigator for the Leverhulme ECF project ‘The rise and fall of a tone’

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York

Aug 2022 – Feb 2024 York, UK
  • Working for the ESRC-funded project ‘Person-specific automatic speaker recognition: understanding the behaviour of individuals for applications of ASR’
  • Teaching Research Training Seminar module

Research Assistant

Language and Brain Lab, University of Oxford

Oct 2019 – Oct 2021 Oxford
  • Worked for the MORPHON project supervised by Professor Aditi Lahiri;
  • Examined the pre-attentive processing (MMN) of consonant length and differences in place of articulation in [CORONAL] fricatives in Mandarin using EEG.
  • Processed over 1000 Bengali utterances for intonation research.

Research Assistant

Phonetics Laboratory, University of Oxford

Oct 2019 – Oct 2021 Oxford
  • Working for the English and Multilingualism project supervised by Dr Elinor Payne and Dr Olga Maxwell;
  • Recruited participants, and collected audio recordings, perception experiment data, and questionnaire data online from 60 participants during lockdown;
  • Cleaned, collated, and coded the data for further analysis.

Software Engineer

Mo Intelligence Ltd

Nov 2018 – May 2019 Oxford
  • Built user interface for Android apps using Android Studio;
  • Prepared audio training data to improve machine learning algorithms of speaker identification;
  • Prepared demo materials including videos and Android mobile apps.


St Edmund Hall, Middle Common Room (MCR)

Nov 2018 – May 2019 Oxford
  • Liaised with the MCR committee members to set termly and events budgets, and with college for battels;
  • Administered MCR Blues Fund, MCR Charity Fund, and MCR 50th Anniversary Academic Grant;
  • Managed the MCR bank accounts and financial matters such as purchasing and reimbursements, and recorded all expenditure.


Training your first ASR model: Introduction to ASR in linguistic research

Introduction to Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) in linguistic research.

Introduction to Bayesian Data Analysis

Introduction to Bayesian Data Analysis for PASR project team.

Software Carpentry Workshop

Software Carpentry aims to help researchers get their work done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic research computing skills. This hands-on workshop will cover basic concepts and tools, including program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

Linear Mixed Effects Models in R

Lab Skills Workshop Week 5 Hilary Term. This workshop introduces you to linear mixed effects models in R. It is decidedly conceptual without too much mathematical proofs or equations involved. We will focus on understanding the model through analysing two datasets and building up linear modeling workflow in R.

Introduction to Praat and Praat scripting

Lab Skills Workshop Week 3 Hilary Term. This workshop serves as a boot camp guiding you to start your phonetic analyses using Praat. Instead of listing out how to perform specific functions, it focuses on introducing a sustainable workflow that bootstraps our knowledge to start our own analyses as quickly as possible.


  • Phonetics Laboratory, 41 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JF
  • Monday 10:00 to 13:00
    Wednesday 10:00 to 13:00
  • DM Me
  • Discuss on Forum