Plenary, New Directions conference, Yokohama, Japan, 2019. Photo credit: Dylan Burton


Talia Isaacs, PhD​


Edited volume

Isaacs, T., & Trofimovich, P. (Eds.). (2017). Second language pronunciation assessment: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Multilingual Matters. [Open Access Link]

Refereed journal articles

Phakiti, A., & Isaacs, T. (accepted). Classroom assessment and validity: Psychometric and edumetric approaches. The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL.

Isaacs T., Murdoch, J., Demjén, Z., & Stevenson, F. (2020). Examining the language demands of informed consent documents in patient recruitment to cancer trials using tools from corpus and computational linguistics. Health. [Open Access Link]

Isaacs, T., & Thomson, R. I. (2020). Reactions to second language speech: Influences of discrete speech characteristics, rater experience, and speaker first language background. Journal of Second Language Pronunciation. 6​, 402–429. [Link]   

Appel, R., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., Isaacs. T., & Webb, S. (2019). Lexical aspects of comprehensibility and nativeness from the perspective of native-speaking English raters. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 170, 24–53. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2018). Shifting sands in second language pronunciation teaching and assessment research and practice. Language Assessment Quarterly, 15, 273–293. [Download

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., & Isaacs, T. (2018). Linguistic dimensions of L2 accentedness and comprehensibility vary across speaking tasks. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, ​40, 443–457. [Download]

Isaacs, T., Trofimovich, P., & Foote, J. A. (2018). Developing a user-oriented second language comprehensibility scale for English-medium universities. Language Testing, 35, 193–216. [Download] [Podcast] [Rating scale & instructions]

Park, A. Y., Isaacs, T., & Woodfield, H. (2018). A comparison of the effect of extensive and intensive reading approaches on the vocabulary development of Korean secondary EFL learners. Applied Linguistics Review, 9​, 113-134. [Download]

Isaacs, T., & Harding, L. (2017). Pronunciation assessment. Language Teaching, 50, 347–366. [Download]

Saito, K., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2017). Using listener judgements to investigate linguistic influences on L2 comprehensibility and accentedness: A validation and generalization study. Applied Linguistics, 38​, 439-462. [Download

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2016). Linguistic dimensions of second language accent and comprehensibility: Nonnative listeners' perspectives. Journal of Second Language Pronunciation2, 160–182. [Download]

Baird, J-A., Johnson, S., Hopfenbeck, T. N., Isaacs, T., Sprague, T., Stobart, G., & Yu, G. (2016). On the supranational spell of PISA in policy. Educational Research, 58​, 121–138. [Download
Edwards, L.*, Rooshenas, L., & Isaacs, T.* (2016). Inclusion of ethnic minorities in telehealth trials for type 2 diabetes: Protocol for a systematic review examining prevalence and language issues. JMIR Research Protocols​, 5, e43. [Download]
NOTE: * designates equal authorship 

Isaacs, T.*, Hunt, D.*, Ward, D., Rooshenas, L., & Edwards, L. (2016). The inclusion of ethnic minority patients and the role of language in telehealth trials for Type 2 diabetes: A systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research18, e256. [Download]
NOTE: * designates equal authorship 

Saito, K., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2016). Second language speech production: Investigating linguistic correlates of comprehensibility and accentedness for learners at different ability levels. Applied Psycholinguistics, 37, 217–240. [Download]

Saito, K., Webb, S., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2016). Lexical correlates of comprehensibility versus accentedness in second language speech. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19, 597–609. [Download]

Saito, K., Webb, S., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2016). Lexical profiles of comprehensible second language speech: The role of appropriateness, fluency, variation, sophistication, abstractness and sense relations. Studies in Second Language Acquisition38, 677-701. [Download]

Trofimovich, P., Isaacs, T., Kennedy, S., Saito, K., & Crowther, D. (2016). Flawed self-assessment: Investigating self- and other-perception of second language speech. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition​, 19, 122–140. [Download]

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., & Isaacs, T. (2015). Second language comprehensibility revisited: Investigating the effects of learner background. TESOL Quarterly, 49, 814–837. [Download]

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., Isaacs, T., & Saito, K. (2015). Does a speaking task affect second language comprehensibility? Modern Language Journal99, 80–95. [Download]

Isaacs, T., & Thomson, R. I. (2013). Rater experience, rating scale length, and judgments of L2 pronunciation: Revisiting research conventions. Language Assessment Quarterly, 10, 135–159. [Download]

Trofimovich, P. & Isaacs, T. (2012). Disentangling L2 comprehensibility from accentedness. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15, 905–916. [Download]

Isaacs, T., & Trofimovich, P. (2012). “Deconstructing” comprehensibility: Identifying the linguistic influences on listeners’ L2 comprehensibility ratings. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34, 475–505. [Download]

Isaacs, T., Laurier, M. D., Turner, C. E., & Segalowitz, N. (2011). Identifying second language speech tasks and ability levels for successful nurse oral interaction with patients in a linguistic minority setting: An instrument development project. Health Communication, 26, 560–570. [Link] [Download]

Isaacs, T., & Trofimovich, P. (2011). Phonological memory, attention control, and musical ability: Effects of individual differences on rater judgments of second language speech. Applied Psycholinguistics, 32, 113–140. [Download]

Isaacs, T., & Trofimovich, P. (2010). Falling on sensitive ears? The influence of musical ability on extreme raters’ judgments of L2 pronunciation. TESOL Quarterly, 44, 375–386. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2009). Integrating form and meaning in L2 pronunciation instruction. TESL Canada Journal, 27, 1–12. [Download]

Thomson, R. I., & Isaacs, T. (2009). Within-category variation in L2 English vowel learning. Canadian Acoustics, 37, 138–139. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2008). Towards defining a valid assessment criterion of pronunciation proficiency in non-native English speaking graduate students. Canadian Modern Language Review, 64, 555–580. [Download]​​

Isaacs, T. (2006). Never say never: The case for Iraqi Judeo-Arabic. International Journal of Inclusive Education10, 395–414. [Download]

Refereed book chapters

Jones, J., & Isaacs, T. (in press). Assessing second language pronunciation. In H. Moehebbi, & C. Coombe (Eds.), Research questions in language education and applied linguistics. Springer.

Isaacs, T. (2018). Fully automated speaking assessment: Changes to proficiency testing and the role of pronunciation. In O. Kang, R. I. Thomson, & J. Murphy (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of contemporary English pronunciation (pp. 570–584). Routledge. [Download]

Kim, H., & Isaacs, T. (2018). Teachers’ voices in the decision to discontinue a public examination reform: Washback effects and implications for utilizing tests as levers for change. In D. Xerri & P. Vella Briffa (Eds.), Teacher involvement in high stakes language testing (pp. 263–282). Springer. [Download

Isaacs, T. & Trofimovich, P. (2017). Key themes, constructs, and interdisciplinary perspectives in second language pronunciation assessment. In T. Isaacs & P. Trofimovich (Eds.), Second language pronunciation assessment: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 3–11). Multilingual Matters. [Download]

Saito, K., Trofimovich, P., Isaacs, T., & Webb, S. (2017). Re-examining phonological and lexical correlates of second language comprehensibility: The role of rater experience. In T. Isaacs & P. Trofimovich (Eds.), Second language pronunciation assessment: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 131–146). Multilingual Matters. [Download]

Trofimovich, P. & Isaacs, T. (2017). L2 pronunciation assessment: A look at the present and the future. In T. Isaacs & P. Trofimovich (Eds.), Second language pronunciation assessment: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 259–271). Multilingual Matters. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2016). Assessing speaking. In D. Tsagari & J. Banerjee (Eds.), Handbook of second language assessment (pp. 131–146). DeGruyter Mouton. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2014). Assessing pronunciation. In A. J. Kunnan (Ed.), The companion to language assessment (Vol. 1, pp.140–155). Wiley-Blackwell.

Isaacs, T. (2013). International engineering graduate students’ interactional patterns on a paired speaking test: Interlocutors’ perspectives. In K. McDonough, & A. Mackey (Eds.), Interaction in diverse educational settings (pp. 227–246). John Benjamins. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2013). Phonology: Mixed methods. In C. A. Chapelle (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics (Vol. 7, pp. 4427–4434). Wiley-Blackwell.

Research reports

Isaacs, T. (2018). BHRUT (Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals) clinical communication project. Unpublished internal report for BHRUT National Health Service (NHS) Trust. 

Yu, G., He, L., & Isaacs, T. (2017). The cognitive processes of taking IELTS Academic writing task one: An eye-tracking study. IELTS research reports online series, 2. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2016). Automated assessment of speaking: Literature review on automated rating technology for speaking tests. Unpublished internal report for the British Council. 

Isaacs, T., Trofimovich, P., Yu, G., & Chereau, B. M. (2015). Examining the linguistic aspects of speech that most efficiently discriminate between upper levels of the revised IELTS pronunciation scale. IELTS research reports online series, 4. [Download]

Baird, J.-A., Isaacs, T., Johnson, S., Stobart, G., Yu, G., Sprague, T., & Daugherty, R. (2011). Policy effects of PISA. Pearson UK. [Download]

Book reviews
Isaacs, T. (2016). Review of [Pronunciation fundamentals: Evidence-based perspectives for L2 teaching and research] by T. M. Derwing & M. J. Munro. Speak Out!54, 52–56. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2012). Review of [Teaching and learning second language listening: Metacognition in action] by L. Vandergrift & C. M. Goh. Canadian Modern Language Review68, 349–351. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2012). Review of [English phonology and pronunciation teaching] by P. Rogerson-Revell. BAAL News102, 15–17. [Download]​

Isaacs, T. (2008). Review of [The defence of French: A language in crisis?] by R. Adamson. Canadian Modern Language Review, 64, 526–528. [Download]
​Research protocols, proceedings, published abstracts, open access research instruments and datasets
Ward, A., Durand, M.-A., Yen, R. W., Schubbe, D., Isaacs, T., Crocker, J., & (2020). Enrollment, retention, and effective strategies for including disadvantaged populations in controlled trials. PROSPERO CRD 42020152814. [Download]

Isaacs, T., Murdoch, J., Demjén, Z., & Stevenson, F. (2019). Corpora of patient information sheets and consent forms for UK cancer trials 2007-2017. [Dataset]. UK Data Service. [

Isaacs, T., Hunt, D., Ward, D., Rooshenas, L., & Edwards, L. (2017). Optimising the recruitment of underrepresented ethnic minority patients to telehealth diabetes trials: Examining the role of language and research reporting practices. Trials, 18(Suppl 1):1902, 117–118. [Download]

Isaacs, T., Trofimovich, P., & Foote, J. A. (2017). Second Language English comprehensibility global and analytic scales (Version 1.0) and instructions. Available on IRIS Digital Repository, Open Science Framework, and TESOL Resource Center. [Link]

Edwards, L., Hunt, D., Rooshenas, L., Ward, D., & Isaacs, T. (2015). Inclusion of ethnic minorities in telehealth trials for Type 2 diabetes: A systematic review examining prevalence and language issues. PROSPERO CRD 42015024899. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2013). Pronunciation. Cambridge English centenary symposium on speaking assessment (pp. 13–15). Cambridge English Language Assessment. [Download]

Thomson, R. I., & Isaacs, T. (2009). Lexical frequency, orthographic information, and first-language effects on second-language pronunciation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125, 2752. [Download]

Isaacs, T. (2008). IELTS award news. In University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (Ed.), Research Notes, 31 (pp. 35–36). Cambridge: University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. [Download]

Media articles, research briefings, podcasts, and video clips
Borges, L. O., & Isaacs, T. (2018a). Developing a second language comprehensibility scale to measure academic speaking. OASIS Summary of Isaacs, T., Trofimovich, P. & Foote, J. A. (2018) in Language Testing. [Link] 

Borges, L. O., & Isaacs, T. (2018b). Which linguistic aspects influence listeners’ comprehensibility of non-native speech. OASIS Summary of Isaacs, T. & Trofimovich, P. (2012) in Studies in Second Language Acquisition. [

Isaacs, T. (2018). Comprehensibility in assessing pronunciation [podcast]. Language Testing Bytes, 28. Produced for the journal, Language Testing. [Link]

Isaacs, T. (2017). Assessing pronunciation [video]. In Fulcher, G., & Thrasher, R. (Eds.), Language testing videos. Produced in association with ILTA. [Link]

Isaacs, T. & Trofimovich, P. (2016). Publication of Multilingual Matters’ first open access book: A milestone for pronunciation assessment. Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters blog. [Link]

Isaacs, T., Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., & Saito, K. (2014). Learning to speak English? Making yourself understood isn’t all about the accent. The Conversation. [Link]​

Isaacs, T., Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., & Saito, K. (2014). Effects of international students' first language backgrounds on their speech
productions. Graduate School of Education Research Briefing28. [

Conference dissemination and talks (since 2014)

Isaacs, T. (2021, June). [Title TBA]. Research synthesis in applied linguistics: Facilitating research-pedagogy dialogue. British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL)/Cambridge University Press Seminars

Isaacs, T. (2020, December). Investigating global pronunciation and fluency constructs: Measures derived from second language speech samples and raters’ perspectives. Speech Science Forum webinar, Speech and Hearing Phonetic Sciences, UCL. [Abstract]

Isaacs, T. (2020, July). Proficiency self-assessment; Age versus grade/use of English in the classroom. Rapporteur. PISA 2025 optional foreign language assessment context questionnaire webinar, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Isaacs, T. (2020, March). Operationalizing key constructs in research instruments. OECD, Boulogne-Billancourt, France [presented remotely].

Isaacs, T. (2019, December). Paradigm wars no more? Mixed methods in applied linguistics research. Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.

Isaacs, T. (2019, December). Assessing “ear and tongue skills": Standards, washback effects, and policy implications. Plenary presentation at the British Council New Directions in Language Assessment Conference. Yokohama, Japan.

Isaacs, T. (2019, December). Technology and consequences. Invited symposium, New Directions in Language Assessment, Yokohama. 

Isaacs, T. (2019, October). Developing and validating language assessment tools for low- and high-stakes purposes. UCL, London, UK.

Isaacs, T. (2019, October). Extrapolating the widening participation agenda to the recruitment of underserved groups in medical research: Language, ethnicity, and assessment. Bristol Conversations in Education, Bristol, UK.

Tsang, C. L., & Isaacs, T. (2019, October). Uncovering the inner-workings of the washback on learning construct: A study of Hong Kong learners’ reactions to a graded approach to English language testing. Asian Association for Language Assessment (AALA) conference, Hanoi, Vietnam.  

Isaacs, T. (2019, September). Assessment and testing. Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching (PSLLT) conference roundtable sponsored by Language Learning, Flagstaff, US.

Tsunemoto, A., Isaacs, T., & McDonough, K. (2019, August). Examining the acoustic and temporal measures underlying self- and other-assessment of accentedness. New Sounds, Tokyo, Japan.

Isaacs, T. (2019, June). Perspectives on validity in educational measurement, applied linguistics, and language testing. Keynote symposium on Validity models in transition, European Association for Language Testing and Assessment (EALTA) conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Tsunemoto, A., Uludag, P., McDonough, K., & Isaacs, T.  (2019, June). Exploring the relationship between L2 English speakers' fluency and accentedness ratings and linguistic measures of phonological accuracy and fluency. International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB), Edmonton, Canada. 

Isaacs, T. (2019, May). Transitions in language assessment: Topics en vogue, in the doghouse, inert despite lip service, and back from the dead. Keynote presentation at EALTA, Dublin.

O’Sullivan, B., & Isaacs, T. (2019, May). Writing an abstract. Workshop, EALTA, Dublin. 

Isaacs, T. (2019, April). The elusive top rung of the language proficiency ladder: Why pro-/ anti-/ post- and a-native-speakerist views fail to measure up. Applied Linguistics Lunchtime Seminar, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Tsunemoto, A. & Isaacs, T. (2018, October). Task effects in L2 Japanese speakers’ self-assessments of accentedness and comprehensibility and native English teachers’ ratings. Second Language Research Forum (SLRF), Montreal, Canada.

Isaacs, T. (2017, October). Contemporary debates in language testing: Standards, the native speaker, and the role of our professional association​. Lancaster University, UK.

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., & Isaacs, T. (2017, September). Linguistic dimensions of L2 accentedness and comprehensibility vary across speaking tasks. Poster presentation at PSLLT, Salt Lake City, US.

Isaacs, T., Demjen, Z., Stevenson, F., & Murdoch, J. (2017, June). What does it take to understand? A text-based analysis of the language demands of English-medium ethical materials provided to patients in randomized controlled trials. International Conference on Communication,
Medicine and Ethics (COMET), Indianapolis, US.

Isaacs, T., Hunt, D., Ward, D., Rooshenas, L., & Edwards, L. (2017, May). Optimising the recruitment of underrepresented ethnic minority patients to telehealth diabetes trials: Examining the role of language and research reporting practices. Poster presentation at the joint Society for Clinical Trials and International Clinical Trials Methodology Conference (SCT/ICTMC), Liverpool, UK. [Abstract]

Isaacs, T. (2017, January). Invited roundtable on language, culture, and mental health. Inaugural meeting of the Linguistic and cultural strategies (LINCS) for effective mental healthcare International Research Consortium, Montreal, Canada. 

Isaacs, T. (2016, December). Redressing the balance in the native speaker debate: Assessment standards, standard language, and exposing double standards. Tel Aviv University, Israel. 

Isaacs, T. (2016, August). Why using the term “native speaker” should not be demonized: Reflections on assessment standards and political correctness run amok. Symposium presentation on uses of the term ‘native speaker’ in second language research. European second Language Acquisition (EuroSLA) conference, Jyväskylä, Finland. [Abstract]


Isaacs, T. (2016, August). On the limitations of a universal framework for L2 pronunciation: Evidence from rating scale validation research. University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Isaacs, T. (2016, June). Changes to the panorama of second language speaking proficiency assessment and practical considerations. St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, UK. 

Isaacs, T. (2016, June). Why modelling pronunciation descriptors in an empirically-based universal framework (or even just sticking to one target language) is such a challenge. UCL Institute of Education, University College London, UK. [Abstract]

Appel, R., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K. Webb, S., & Isaacs. T. (2016, May). Comprehensibility and nativelikeness from the perspective of naïve L1 English raters. /ssociation Canadienne de Linguistique Appliquée/Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics (ACLA/CAAL), Calgary, AB, Canada.

Isaacs, T. (2015, November). Consulting “expert” teachers to develop and validate pronunciation-relevant rating scales in high- and low-stakes settings. Invited talk at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Isaacs, T. (2015, November). Rating learners’ oral performance: Understanding sources of variation and principles of best practice. Invited workshop at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T. (2015, October). The perception of second language English speech by nonnative listeners: The effect of first language background. PSLLT, Dallas, Texas, USA.

Isaacs, T. (2015, May). Principles and practice in assessing speaking: Beyond reticence to target “ear and tongue skills.” Invited workshop at the Asian Association for Language Assessment (AALA) conference, Bangkok, Thailand. [Abstract]

Isaacs, T. (2015, May). Perceptions and ratings of lay listeners, teachers, and examiners in L2 pronunciation scale development and validation. Invited keynote at AALA, Bangkok, Thailand. [

Isaacs, T., & Turner, C. E. (2015, March). Aligning teaching, learning, and assessment in EAP instruction? Stakeholders’ views, external influences, and researchers’ perspectives. Language Testing Research Colloquium (LTRC), Toronto, ON, Canada.

Isaacs, T., Trofimovich, P., Yu, G., & Chereau, B. M. (2015, March). Examining the linguistic aspects of speech that most efficiently discriminate between upper levels of the revised IELTS pronunciation scale. Joint conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and ACLA/CAAL, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Isaacs, T., & Yu, G. (2014, November). ALTE course in productive skills: Assessing speaking and writing. Invited workshop instructed for the Association of Language Testers in Europe (consultancy), Sèvres, France. [Workshop program]

Isaacs, T., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., Crowther, D., & Foote, J. (2014, September). Beyond the "armchair" method of rating scale construction: Validating an empirically-derived L2 comprehensibility scale. Paper presented at the EuroSLA conference, York, UK.

Isaacs, T., Trofimovich, P., Crowther, D., Saito, K., & Foote, J. (2014, June). Modelling comprehensibility in an oral production scale for L2 learners of English: Which linguistic factors generalize across L1s? Plenary presented at LTRC, Amsterdam, Netherlands.[Abstract]
Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., Isaacs, T., & Saito, K. (2014, May). Differentiating accent from comprehensibility: The importance of learner background. Paper presented at ACLA/CAAL, St. Catharines, Canada.

Crowther, D., Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., & Isaacs, T. (2014, March). L2 comprehensibility revisited: Investigating the effects of learner background and speaking task. Paper presented at AAAL, Portland, USA.

Trofimovich, P., Saito, K., & Isaacs, T. (2014, March). Comprehensibility versus accent: Using global listener ratings to investigate phonological, lexical, and grammatical influences on L2 speech. Paper presented at AAAL, Portland, USA.