My work focuses on the areas of Phonetics, Phonology, and Sociolinguistics. I am interested in linguistic variation, particularly 'lenition' type processes that could be implemented categorically or on a phonetic continuum. Since the acoustic signal often does not contain information about subtle articulatory variation, I frequently make use of methods for measuring articulatory movements directly. Find out more about ongoing projects below!
Electromagnetic Articulography (EMA)
EMA involves harmlessly adhering tiny sensor coils to a participant's tongue, teeth, and lips, as well as reference points elsewhere on the head. These sensors are then tracked for position and rotation through an electromagnetic field projected from the articulograph. This methodology is slightly more invasive than others, but results in high resolution articulatory movement data.
I am currently using EMA to investigate the presumed categoricity of so-called '/t,d/ Deletion', the surface absence of underlying word-final coronal stops in English.
Ultrasound tongue imaging (UTI)
UTI involves placing an ultrasound transducer beneath a participant's chin, which is held in place by stabilisation equipment adjusted for their head size/shape. The researcher can then observe the participant's tongue shape and movement on a midsagittal or coronal plane. A central challenge is then grappling with the multidimensional data that this technique yields.
I am currently interested in using UTI to investigate patterns of /l/ realisation in Philadelphia English, where /l/ vocalisation is particularly prevalent.
The Grammar of Variation
There is a long tradition of accounting for linguistic variation as an integral part of the grammar – phonological rather than purely phonetic. The need for such an analysis is bolstered by evidence for the categoricity of phenomena, as well as morphosyntactic conditioning on their rate of implementation. I am interested in efforts to incorporate variation into formal phonological architectures.
Currently, I am working with Stochastic Optimality Theory to account for rates of variable word-final schwa in Parisian French.
lexical Frequency in Speech Production
Highly frequent words are produced faster, in more lenited and reduced forms, and with more advanced variants of ongoing sound changes. However, the cognitive locus of these effects remains an open question. Do speakers gradually accumulate more and more compressed representations? Or is there some link between processing time and production rate, such that a frequent word’s higher resting activation results in more reduction?
Currently, I am working with Meredith Tamminga to investigate the role of different lexical frequency measures and explore how they interact with morphological structure.