An application of functional data analysis (FDA) (Ramsay and Silverman, 2005, Functional Data Analysis, 2nd ed. (Springer-Verlag, New York)) for linguistic experimentation is explored. The functional time-registration method provided by FDA is shown to offer novel advantages in the investigation of articulatory timing. Traditionally, articulatory studies examining the effects of linguistic variables such as prosody on articulatory timing have relied on comparing the durations of speech intervals of interest defined by kinematic landmarks. Such measurements, however, do not preserve information on the detailed, continuous pattern of articulatory timing that unfolds during these intervals. We present an approach that allows the analysis of entire, continuous kinematic trajectories obtained in a movement tracking experiment examining the influence of a phrasal boundary on articulatory patterning. FDA time deformation functions, after alignment of test and reference (control) signals, reveal delaying of articulator movement (i.e., slowing of the internal clock rate) in the presence of a phrase boundary as the speech stream recedes from the boundary. This is a theoretically predicted pattern (Byrd and Saltzman, 2003, The elastic phrase: Modeling the dynamics of boundary-adjacent lengthening, Journal of Phonetics 31, 149-180.), which would be more difficult to validate with a traditional interval-based approach. It is concluded that the FDA time alignment method provides a useful tool for characterizing timing patterns in linguistic experimentation based on continuous kinematic trajectories.