Peter Ladefoged (1925-2006) was a professor in the UCLA Linguistics Department from 1962 to 1991, and thereafter a Research Linguist. He was preeminent in the field of phonetics. For biographical information and personal memories of Peter Ladefoged, see the page Remembering Peter Ladefoged.

Since Peter Ladefoged's Web page continues to serve as a resource for phonetic research and historical scholarship, the Linguistics Department will be maintaining it in this location.


Peter Ladefoged



UCLA Linguistics Dept.
3125 Campbell Hall
Los Angeles CA 90095-1543


[Current activity]   [Personal]   [Informal and formal CV]     

Current activity

Recent papers (available in pdf format)

Recent books

Thomson US listing

Thomson UK and other countries listing

An accompanying CD is integrated with the text. A web version of the CD.

Continuing Interests

Thousands of languages all over the world will not be spoken in a generation or two. Thanks to an NSF grant, Ian Maddieson and I have worked with fieldworkers and students over the last 15 years on languages spoken in Africa, India, Australia, Brazil, the U.S. and elsewhere.

A long-time ambition has been to hear and describe all the distinct sounds of the world's languages, perhaps 800 consonants and 200 vowels. This interest led to co-authoring with Ian Maddieson The Sounds of the World's Languages (Blackwell 1996).

With this go two other interests:

1.    Developing an explanatory phonetic classificatory system.
2.    Maintaining the International Phonetic Alphabet (the IPA).


Married for over 50 years to Jenny Ladefoged, a notorious Episcopal Church Woman. (I am a member of Atheists for Jesus.) Three offspring (plus grandchildren): Lise Friedman, Bookseller; Thegn Ladefoged, Archaeologist,University of Auckland; Katie Weiss, Attorney, Public Defender Nashville.

Informal CV

In my early career I never stayed long enough in a particular field to be contradicted. I started as a poet learning about the sounds of words with David Abercrombie. Then, remembering my background in physics, I moved to studying acoustic phonetics. From there I became a pseudo-psychologist testing perceptual theories, until a meeting with a physiologist led to work on the respiratory muscles used in speech. Eventually I landed in Africa teaching English phonetics and learning about African languages. So by the time I was asked to set up a lab at UCLA I was a specialist in nothing. But I was able to use my background to describe the sounds of a wide range of languages, becoming a sort of linguist. Computers and bright students led to other ways of analyzing sounds. Building a research group who felt that they had a stake in the development of the lab taught me their varied ideas from statistics to engineering, and the philosophy of linguistics.   A longer version of this

My formal CV is also available (.pdf)


Last Updated:  PL January 2006/Webmaster September 2009