Zainab Hermes

Assistant Instructional Professor
Pick 302
Teaching at UChicago since 2018

Zainab Hermes earned her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. Her dissertation used Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine the articulation of pharyngealized speech sounds in Cairene Arabic. She is interested in experimental linguistics and has conducted research on various dialects of Arabic including her native Cairene Arabic, as well as on Lebanese, Jordanian, and Saudi Arabic.

Current Research Projects

  • A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) investigation of the vocal tract configuration during the production of back consonants in various dialects of Arabic.
  • A Magnetoencephalography (MEG)  investigation of the neurological representation of diglossic code-switching between Egyptian and Standard Arabic.
  • A Self-Paced Reading (SPR) study of grammatical gender acquisition among L2 learners of Arabic.

Selected Publications

Hermes, Zainab, Barlaz, Marissa, Shosted, Ryan, Liang, Zhi-Pei, and Sutton, Brad. 2021. Phonetic Correlates of Pharyngealization and Pharyngealization Spread in Cairene Arabic: an rt-MRI study. Series of Studies in Arabic Linguistics: Experimental Arabic Linguistics. John Benjamins Publishing. 

Shosted, Ryan, Fu, Maojing, and Hermes, Zainab. 2018. Arabic Pharyngeal and Emphatic Consonants. In A. Benmamoun and R. Bassiouney (eds.), Handbook of Arabic Linguistics. Routledge. 

Hermes, Z., Barlaz, M., Shosted, R., Liang, Z.-P., and B. Sutton. 2017. “Correlates of Pharyngeal and Pharyngealized Consonants in Saudi, Lebanese, and Jordanian Arabic: an rt-MRI Study”. Proceedings of INTERSPEECH.  

Hermes, Z., Wong, N., Loucks, T., and R. Shosted. 2015. “The Primary Articulation of Plain-Emphatic /s/-/sˤ/ in Lebanese Arabic: An EMA study”. Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. 

Recent & Regularly Taught Courses

  • Introduction to Arabic Linguistics
  • Arabic for Heritage Learners   
  • Colloquial Egyptian Arabic: Language and Culture 
  • Elementary Modern Standard Arabic 
  • Intermediate Modern Standard Arabic 
  • Media Arabic 
Subject Area: Arabic Language Program