John M Levis

John M Levis

  • Full Professor
  • Applied Linguistics & TESL
  • Director, Cross-disciplinary Linguistics Program
I am a Full Professor in Applied Linguistics and TESL at Iowa State University, where my main interest is the teaching of second language pronunciation. I have been the Director of the Cross-Disciplinary Linguistics Program since 2010. I co-edited Social Dynamics in Second Language Accent (De Gruyter Mouton, 2014), the Handbook of English Pronunciation (Wiley Blackwell, 2015), Pronunciation: Critical Concepts in Linguistics (Taylor & Francis, 2017), and Intelligibility, Oral Communication, and the Teaching of Pronunciation (Cambridge University Press, 2018). My most recent book is Second Language Pronunciation: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice (Wiley Blackwell, 2022). I also initiated the annual Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference in 2009 and am the founding editor of the Journal of Second Language Pronunciation (2015-present).


  • Ph.D., Educational Psychology/Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 1996
  • M.A.T., English as a Second Language, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 1989
  • B.A. English, University of Wyoming, 1986
  • B.S., Business Administration, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 1978

Interdepartmental Programs

I have been teaching ESL for over 35 years, mostly at the university level. For most of that time I have worked with teachers and supervising and presenting workshops on how to teach. My specialty is English pronunciation. This specialty has led me to explore a wide variety of topics, including teaching pronunciation, the role of intonation in pronunciation teaching, teaching other teachers about teaching pronunciation, the roles of dialects in teaching pronunciation, and examining what makes speech intelligible.

I have presented papers and taught in Canada, Singapore, Poland, Japan, Spain, North Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, France, Taiwan, Ukraine, Scotland, and the US. I have written articles about pronunciation teaching in a variety of journals, from the more theoretical (such as Applied Linguistics) to those that mix theory and practice (such as TESOL Quarterly) to those that are quite practically minded (TESOL Journal, ELT Journal). I am also the co-editor of several volumes, including Social Dynamics in Second Language Accent (Degruyter), The Handbook of English Pronunciation (Wiley Blackwell), Critical Concepts in Linguistics: Pronunciation (Taylor & Francis), and am the author of the Cambridge University Press book, Intelligibility, Oral Communication, and the Teaching of Pronunciation. A new book, co-edited with Tracey Derwing and Sinem Sonsaat-Hegelheimer, was just published in 2022. It is called Second language pronunciation: Bridging the gap between research and practice.

I am the creator and organizer of the Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching conference, now going into its twelfth year. The conference attracts scholars and teachers interested in pronunciation from around the world and provides a freely available reviewed electronic proceedings. A direct result of the conference is the new Journal of Second Language Pronunciation (John Benjamins), of which I am the founding editor. I am also the co-creator, with Sinem Sonsaat-Hegelheimer, of, a website providing reliable information about pronunciation concepts and pronunciation teaching.