Category Archives: Phonology

Farinella, Yu, Brugos, Green present on African American English intonation at NWAV49

2nd year graduate student Alessa Farinella presented joint work with faculty members Kristine Yu and Lisa Green and collaborator Alejna Brugos (Boston University) at the annual sociolinguistics conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation 49 on October 21, 2021, hosted by UT Austin. Alessa pre-recorded the talk, entitled Biases from MAE-ToBI intonational transcription conventions in the intonational analysis of African American English, which you can watch at the departmental YouTube Channel or from the embedded link directly below.

This material was based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant BCS-2042939. 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.

Nelson, Pater and Prickett UCLA colloquium

Max Nelson, Joe Pater and Brandon Prickett presented “Representations in neural network learning of phonology” in the UCLA colloquium series Friday October 9th. The abstract is below, and the slides can be found here.

Abstract. The question of what representations are needed for learning of phonological generalizations in neural networks (NNs) was a central issue in the applications of NNs to learning of English past tense morphophonology in Rumelhart and McClelland (1986) and in following work of that era. It can be addressed anew given subsequent developments in NN technology. In this talk we will present computational experiments bearing on three specific questions:

Are variables needed for phonological assimilation and dissimilation?  

Are variables needed to model learning experiments involving reduplication (e.g.  Marcus et al.  1999)?  

What kind of architecture is necessary for the full range of natural language reduplication?  

Bhatia to CU Rajasthan; Hauser to UT Arlington!

Congratulations are in order for Sakshi Bhatia and Ivy Hauser, who have both accepted tenure-track assistant professor positions!

Sakshi will be an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Central University of Rajasthan, and she is getting started right away.

Ivy will start in the fall as an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas Arlington.

Huge congratulations are due to both Sakshi and Ivy, who arrived to UMass in the same PhD cohort. So it’s a special joy to get to make this double announcement. We’re proud of you both: Best of luck in the next phase of your careers!

45 to 60 Year Olds Needed for Paid Study of How Seeing a Speaker Helps with Speech Understanding

Adults between 45 and 60 years of age needed for a paid study being conducted by researchers in the Language, Intersensory Perception, and Speech (LIPS) lab in the department of psychological and brain sciences.

The Audiovisual Synchrony (AVSYNC) study tests how seeing a speaker talk can help aging listeners to continue to effectively understand spoken language.

Participants must be native speakers of American English. They will be paid $10 per hour for participating. The study will require a 2-hour visit and a 3-hour visit to the lab on campus.

The first lab visit includes various computerized tasks that assess hearing, vision, and judgments about what a speaker says. The second visit involves recording the participants’ brain waves with an EEG cap on their head while they watch and listen to a speaker.

If interested, please leave a message at (909) 547-5221 or email

Help us recruit paid volunteers who are 45-80 years of age and native speakers of American English by sharing this information with others. You can also like and share our ads on our Facebook page ( and/or on our lab’s recruitment page (

Tessier talk and book party, Tuesday Feb 18 2:30 N458

Anne-Michelle Tessier, University of British Columbia, will present “Learning morpho-phonology with Gradient Symbolic Representations: Stages and errors in the acquisition of French liaison” at 2:30pm Tuesday February 18 2020, in N458. Abstract

Things will turn decidedly more festive at 3:15, when we will celebrate Anne-Michelle’s book “Phonological Acquisition: Child Language and Constraint-Based Grammar“. Light refreshments will be served, to be followed by dinner at Michael Becker’s house.