Author Archives: Kristine Yu

UMass at International Congress of Phonetic Sciences in Prague, August 2023

A number of current students/faculty and alumni presented at the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS) held in Prague, August 7-11, 2023. ICPhS is held only every four years and is sometimes called the Phonetics Olympics—it’s the largest meetings of phoneticians.

Presenters from UMass past and present included: current graduate students Alessa Farinella, Cerys Hughes, and Seung Suk (Josh) Lee; faculty members John Kingston and Kristine Yu; former graduate students Ivy Hauser (PhD 2019, now at UT Arlington), Amanda Rysling (PhD 2017, now at UCSC), and Shayne Sloggett (PhD 2017, now at University of York) ; visiting lecturer Sang-Im Lee-Kim (2014-2015, now at Hanyang University).

The talks and posters given by UMass affiliates included:

  • Alessa Farinella, Constantijn Kaland & Daniel Kaufman: Gesture and Prosodic Prominence in Ambonese Indonesian
  • Cerys Hughes, Seung Suk Lee, Alessa Farinella and Kristine Yu: Phonetic Implementation of Phonologically Different High Tone Spans in Luganda [links: paper, note: presentation included significant updates from paper!]
  • John Kingston and Amanda Rysling: When is enough, enough? VOT judgments vary by voicing intensity, aspiration intensity, voice quality, and rate of change
  • Seung Suk Lee: Detecting the Accentual Phrase boundaries in Seoul Korean using tonal and segmental cues [links: paper, poster]
  • Sang-Im Lee-Kim and Hsiang-Yu Tong: Sibilant perception by merged speakers: the case of Taiwan Mandarin
  • Liang Zhao, Eleanor Chodroff, and Shayne Sloggett: Conditions on adaptation to an unfamiliar lexical tone system: the role of quantity and quality of exposure
Alessa Farinella, Seung Suk (Josh) Lee, and Cerys Hughes present on Luganda high tone spans
Alessa Farinella, Seung Suk (Josh) Lee, and Cerys Hughes present on Luganda high tone spans

Ivy Hauser presents on sibilant imitation
Ivy Hauser presents on sibilant imitation

Alessa Farinella presents on gestures and prosodic prominence in Ambonese Indonesian
Alessa Farinella presents on gestures and prosodic prominence in Ambonese Indonesian
Amanda Rysling, John Kingston, and Cerys Hughes
Amanda Rysling, John Kingston, and Cerys Hughes
Seung Suk (Josh) Lee presents on Accentual Phrases in Seoul Korean
Seung Suk (Josh) Lee presents on Accentual Phrases in Seoul Korean

Introductory computational linguistics students present on n-grams in Common Voice

Linguist 409 students prepping for class presentations at the end of Fall 2022.

The undergraduate students in the Fall 2022 edition of Linguist 409 (Introduction to Computational Linguistics) presented their final projects on texts used for Mozilla’s Common Voice at the end of the semester. Mozilla’s Common Voice is a project to create a publicly open audio corpus for developing speech technology for languages across the world, since the massive data sets used for developing commercial voice technology products like Alexa and Siri are not available to the public and limited in their representation across languages and individuals. It is very easy to contribute your own voice recordings via the Common Voice website, but to keep the datasets open, the texts that contributors read must be in the public domain.

A collection of sample slides from Linguist 409 student presentations.

The students noticed that some of the sentences in the texts can be a bit odd and used their Python skills and linguistic acumen to convert graphemes to phonemes in the texts and analyze the distribution of n-grams of phones in English, Japanese, Spanish, and Russian.

Linguist 409 students presenting final projects on n-gram distributions in Mozilla Common Voice texts.

Special issue on sociolectal and dialectal variation in prosody published

The special issue of Language and Speech: Sociolectal and Dialectal Variation in Prosody co-edited by Meghan Armstrong-Abrami (UMass Hispanic Linguistics), Mara Breen (Mount Holyoke Psychology), Shelome Gooden (University of Pittsburgh Linguistics), Erez Levon (University of Bern, Professor of Sociolinguistics), and Kristine Yu (UMass Linguistics) has finally officially been released!

The special issue grew out of the Experimental and Theoretical Approaches to Prosody 4 (ETAP4) conference hosted at UMass in October 2018.

Linguistics at HFA Open House!

Linguistics departmental members Emily Knick, Olivia Nash, Kristine Yu, and Levi Logan (left to right) at HFA open house. (Not pictured: Vincent Homer)

Linguistics faculty and undergraduate students were out in force representing the linguistics department at the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (HFA) Open House on Sunday October 23! The open house was an event held as part of Fall Visit days for prospective undergraduates.

The enthusiastic linguistics undergraduate students present to tell prospective students about the linguistics major were Emily Knick (Linguistics ’23), Levi Logan (Linguistics, Electrical Engineering ’25), and Olivia Nash (Chinese, Linguistics ’22). Also present were faculty members and undergraduate advisors Kristine Yu and Vincent Homer.

Green et al. article on BIN in African American English published

Range in the use and realization of BIN in African American English has been published at Language and Speech online first! This work was done by faculty members Lisa Green and Kristine Yu, together with graduate students Anissa Neal and Ayana Whitmal, former Center for the Study of African American Language undergraduate RA Tamira Powe and Deniz Özyıldız (Ph.D. ’21, now at U. Konstanz).

This material was based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant BCS-2042939, a UMass Amherst Faculty Research Grant/Healey Endowment Grant, a UMass Amherst Institute of Diversity Sciences Seed Grant, and the UMass Amherst Center for the Study of African American Language. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (or other funding sources).

Undergraduate Emily Knick ’23 featured in UMass news story

Undergraduate linguistics major and experimental labs manager Emily Knick ’23 has been featured in the UMass news story Probing the Mysteries of Language, written by UMass Director of Research Communications, Lauren Rubenstein. The news story brings out Emily’s passion for linguistics research and discusses Emily’s honors thesis project on an in-progress sound change in Japanese plosives, which is being directed by faculty member John Kingston. Congratulations Emily!

Surrounded by phonetics recording equipment, Linguistics major Emily Knick ’23 contemplates the voice onset time of a Japanese plosive in Praat while ensconced in a nook of the linguistics department. Photo credit: John Solem

UMass Linguists at LabPhon!

UMass linguists that presented at LabPhon 18 this past week (June 23-25, held virtually) included current graduate students Seung Suk (Josh) Lee, Cerys Hughes, and Alessa Farinella, and faculty member Kristine Yu. LabPhon is the biennial meeting of the Association of Laboratory Phonology

  • Seung Suk (Josh) Lee presented the poster Finding Accentual Phrases in a spontaneous speech corpus of Seoul Korean
  • Cerys Hughes, Seung Suk Lee, Alessa Farinella, and Kristine Yu presented the poster Phonetic implementation of phonologically different high tone plateaus in Luganda

UMass faculty and student alumni that presented include the following:

  • Ivy Hauser (PhD. 2019, now UT Arlington faculty) presented the poster Differential cue weighting in Mandarin sibilant merger
  • Sang-Im Lee-Kim (visiting faculty 2014-2015, now NYCU faculty) presented the poster Unmerging the sibilant merger during phonetic imitation
  • Anne Pycha (visiting faculty 2010-2012, now U. Wisconsin Milwaukee faculty) presented the poster Low density and clear speech make spoken words more memorable with Jae Yung Song and Tessa Culleton

Farinella awarded University of Cologne “Prominence in Language” Junior Fellowship

2nd year graduate student Alessa Farinella has been awarded a Junior Fellowship in the Collaborative Research Centre “Prominence in Language” (CRC 1252, Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB 1252) funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). The “Prominence in Language” group includes more than 60 researchers collaborating on 20 different scientific projects investigating how prominence structures language with respect to prosody, morphosyntax and semantics, and text and discourse structure.

This summer, Farinella will be at the University of Cologne working within the research group focusing on prosodic prominence across the world’s languages, and her host will be Prof. Dr. Nikolaus P. Himmelmann. Farinella will be working on an individual project she proposed that investigates prosodic prominence in varieties of Indonesian through the alignment of manual gesture to speech. The project builds on Farinella’s previous work with her undergraduate research supervisor Daniel Kaufman (Queen’s College, CUNY, Endangered Language Alliance). You can get a glimpse of that work by watching the video recording of Kaufman and Farinella’s presentation at the 28th annual meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA 28) from May 2021! Congratulations Alessa!

Undergraduates present at 1st annual Undergraduate Research Talks!

On Monday May 2, 2022, linguistics major undergraduates Marc Capizzi, Dan DeGenaro, Emily Knick, Thomas Morton, Hannah Parrott, and Fengyue (Lisa) Zhao presented talks on their research at our 1st Annual Undergraduate Research Talks!

Fengyue (Lisa) Zhao, Emily Knick, Hannah Parrott, Dan DeGenaro, Marc Capizzi, and Thomas Morton (left to right) right before the talks started.

Their talks were entitled (in the order presented):

Examining the perceived meanings of African American English Dialect Aspectual Markers Dan DeGenaro

Probabilistic Listener: A Case of Reflexive ziji “self”: Ambiguity Resolution in Mandarin Fengyue (Lisa) Zhao

Vocal Development on Testosterone-based HRT Marc Capizzi

Prevoicing Loss and the [voice] Contrast in the Production of Tokyo Japanese Plosives Emily Knick

Children’s Acquisition of Extraposed Sentences Hannah Parrott

The Cat’s (and) Dog’s Bear: Children’s Planning of Conjoined and Embedded Recursive Possessives Thomas Morton

Thank you to the presenters for their stimulating talks and also to the lively audience, both in person and over Zoom!

A close-up! Fengyue (Lisa) Zhao, Emily Knick, Hannah Parrott, Dan DeGenaro, Marc Capizzi, and Thomas Morton (left to right) right before the talks started.