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Faculty Placeholder

Laura Spinu

Assc Professor

Communications & Performing Arts


Born and raised in Romania, Laura moved to the US in 2001 in order to pursue her Master's and doctoral studies. She has lived in various places in the Northeast, including Princeton, NJ, Stony Brook, NY, Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. Before joining CUNY, she also 4 several years in Canada working for Concordia University (Montreal, QC) as well as York University, Brock University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Western Ontario. She has made great friends in all of these places and, while Brooklyn feels most like home (with Baltimore a close second!), she feels really fortunate that her job-hunting process got her to explore and experience so many different facets of North America. At KBCC, Laura advises the Speech Club and Debate Club and mentors students as part of the CUNY Research Scholars Program. She also conducts research on bilingual cognition, working with our diverse body of students. Other activities include data collection in order to create a linguistic map of KBCC, and training students to disseminate information on the mechanics of hearing and hearing loss to the campus community (Better Hearing Month initiative).


Speech 29: Voice and Articulation
Speech 41: Language Development
Speech 26: Intercultural Communication


​PhD 2010 Linguistics and Cognitive Science (University of Delaware)
MA 2004 Linguistics (Stony Brook University)
BA 2000 English-Spanish (University of Bucharest)

College Teaching

​Laura's teaching experience spans nine North American universities over the past 15 years, including a variety of subjects and course levels, course types (lecture or lab-based), and class sizes (6-160 students). Laura has taught in departments such as Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Anthropology, French Studies, and Psychology.

Selected Publications and/or Other Resources

2018. Investigating the status of a rare cross-linguistic contrast: The case of Romanian palatalized postalveolarsThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 143(3), 1235–1251. 
2018. (Spinu, L., Kochetov, A. & Lilley, J.) Acoustic classification of Russian plain and palatalized sibilant fricatives: Spectral vs. cepstral measuresSpeech Communication, 100, 41–45. 
2018. (Spinu, L., Hwang, J. & Lohmann, R.) Is there a bilingual advantage in phonetic and phonological acquisition? The initial learning of word-final coronal stop realization in a novel accent of EnglishInternational Journal of Bilingualism, 22.3: 350-370, first published online Dec 9, 2016. 
2016. (Spinu, L., and Lilley, J.) A comparison of cepstral coefficients and spectral moments in the classification of Romanian fricativesJournal of Phonetics, 57, 40–58. 
2014. (Kondratenko, Y. and Spinu, L.) Being “better” with accents: evidence from bilingualsProceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, eds. Beltrama, A. et al. 387–400. 
2013. (Vogel, I. and Spinu, L.) Vowel Length in LugandaProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, 12, Acoustical Society of America. 
2012. (Spinu, L., Vogel, I. and Bunnell, H.T.) Palatalization in Romanian - Acoustic properties and perceptionJournal of Phonetics 40, Issue 1, January 2012, 54–66  
2010. Palatalization in Romanian: Experimental and theoretical approaches, PhD Dissertation, University of Delaware, published online by ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing. 
2009. (Vogel, I., Hestvik, A., Bunnell, H. T., and Spinu, L.) Perception of English compound vs. phrasal stress: natural vs. synthetic speech. In Interspeech-2009Proceedings of the 10th Ann. Conf. of the Internat. Speech Communication Assoc.  
2009. (Vogel, I. and Spinu, L.) The domain of palatalization in Romanian. In Romance Linguistics 2007, ed. by P. J. Masullo et al., Amsterdam: John Benjamins 2007.  
2006: Perceptual Properties of Palatalization in Romanian. In Romance Linguistics: Selected Papers of the 36th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), ed. by Jose Camacho et al., Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Research Interests

Laura's research interests lie in acoustic phonetics, psycholinguistics, and experimental phonology. Her dissertation was the first to investigate experimentally the existence of a process known as secondary palatalization within the larger family of Romance languages. Her work served to document the sound system of Romanian, and thus add to our understanding of Romance phonology. Her current research interests include (1) bilingual cognition (in particular, the bilingual advantage in phonetic and phonological learning) and (2) acoustic methods for the classification of a category of sounds called fricatives. Laura has served as a reviewer for journals (The Journal of the Acoustical Society of AmericaAttention, Perception and PsychophysicsJournal of PhoneticsBilingualism: Language and CognitionLanguage and Speech) and she has been a member of the scientific committee of the International Symposium on Bilingualism since 2012.

Awards Recognition, Distinctions and Grants

CUNY Stewart Travel Award (Spring 2019)
CUNY Faculty Travel for Research Program: CUNY Research Foundation (Fall 2018)
PSC-CUNY Award ($5,966): Exploring the Bilingual Advantage in Language Learning: Auditory Sensory Memory in Bilinguals and Monolinguals (Spring 2018) 
CUNY Research in the Classroom Idea Grant ($7,500): Many countries, one language: using pho- netic analysis to create a linguistic map of Kingsborough Community College (SPE29 Spring 2018)  
Award For Excellence for Teaching in French Studies, University of Western Ontario: 2014.  
Award For Excellence in Teaching, University of Delaware: 2010. 
Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant #0720231, National Science Foundation, USA: June 2007-May 2009. 
University Competitive Fellowship, University of Delaware: 2007-2008.
Merit Scholarship, University of Bucharest, Romania: Fall 1996-Spring 1998.

Personal Interests

Laura's interests include nature and animals, visual and performing arts, foreign language conversation groups, literature, cooking with friends, and physical wellness. One of the favorite parts of her day is walking to and from campus along the waterfront.