Category Archives: Phonology

Hauser to University of Minnesota

As we announced back in May, Ivy Hauser defended her dissertation Effects of phonological contrast on within-category phonetic variation on May 9th – here she is with the “defense fish” and her title page!

Ivy Hauser after successful dissertation defense, May 2019

Ivy Hauser after successful dissertation defense, May 2019

Now she’s a Contract Assistant Professor at the Institute of Linguistics at the University of Minnesota.

Ivy Hauser at University of Minnesota

Ivy Hauser at University of Minnesota

Congratulations Ivy!

Language and Music Workshop this Sunday May 12th

The UMass Amherst Department of Linguistics and the Department of Music and Dance, with additional support from the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, will host a Language and Music Workshop on the afternoon of Sunday May 12th. The event will take place from noon until 5:45 in N400 in the Integrative Learning Center. Parking is free in permit lots on Sunday; the ILC is at the top corner of the pond on this map.

There are five invited speakers, and five poster presentations listed below. Please join us for lunch beforehand!

Questions? Please e-mail Joe Pater at


Noon – Catered lunch

1:00 Bob Ladd – University of Edinburgh

Two problems in theories of tone-melody matching (Abstract)

1:45 François Dell – Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l’Asie Orientale (CRLAO) CNRS / EHESS, Paris

Delivery design: towards a typology (Abstract)

2:30 Laura McPherson – Dartmouth College

Tonal adaptation across musical modality: A comparison of Sambla vocal music and speech surrogates (Abstract)

3:15 Poster session (see below for a list of posters)

4:15 Christopher White – University of Massachusetts Amherst

Analogies with Language in Machine-learned Musical Grammars

5:00 Mara Breen – Mount Holyoke College

The Cat in the Hat: Musical and linguistic metric structure realization in child-directed poetry (Abstract)

5:45 Goodbye.


Ellie Abrams, Laura Gwilliams, Alec Marantz (NYU, NYU Abu Dhabi)

Tracking the building blocks of pitch perception in auditory cortex (Abstract)

Kyle Marcos Allphin, Smith College ’19

Perception of Emotional Characteristics in Diatonic Chords (Abstract)

Ahren B. Fitzroy (Mount Holyoke College, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Mara Breen (Mount Holyoke College)

Implicit metric structure in aprosodic productions of The Cat in the Hat modulates auditory processing (Abstract)

Bronwen Garand-Sheridan, Yale University

Sound-symbolic semantics of pitch space (Abstract)

Emily Schwitzgebel, UMass Amherst and Will Evans, UMass Amherst

Subtle Violations in Harmonic Expectancy (Abstract)

Laura Walsh-Dickey visits UMass Linguistics

Laura Walsh-Dickey (PhD 1997) visited the Linguistics Department on Monday April 23 to talk to our PhD students about linguistics in industry – the slides from her talk can be found here: Laura is a software development manager at Amazon (  with a wide range of experience in applications of linguistics to industry. We are very proud of her achievements, and grateful to her for this contribution to the education of our current graduate students.


Pater’s “Phonological typology in OT and FLT” to appear in Phonology

Joe Pater’s short article “Phonological typology in Optimality Theory and Formal Language Theory: Goals and future directions” will appear in Phonology. A preprint can be downloaded here:

Abstract. Much recent work has studied phonological typology in terms of formal language theory (e.g. the Chomsky hierarchy). This paper considers whether Optimality Theory grammars might be constrained to generate only regular languages, and also whether the tools of formal language theory might be used for constructing phonological theories similar to those within Optimality Theory. It offers reasons to be optimistic about the first possibility, and skeptical about the second.