Linguistics 113

This course will provide students with hands-on experience in methods of experimental phonetic research, including audio recording, acoustic speech database construction, recording and interpreting speech air flow and pressure, static palatography, speech synthesis, and the design of perception tests. In addition, students get some training in writing up experimental results for publication.

Time: MWF 2-3 Location: 50 Dwinelle Hall
Course Code: 52329 No. of Units: 3


Keith Johnson, 1222 Dwinelle Hall
Office hours: MWF 3-4, and by appointment.

Coursework: reading assignments; in-class participation; homework projects; a final course paper.

Textbook: Peter Ladefoged. (2003) Phonetic Data Analysis: An Introduction to Fieldwork and Instrumental Techniques. Cambridge: Blackwell.

Homework projects: Homework for this course takes the form of short research progress reports, in which you describe the methods and results of small experimental phonetic projects. During class time we will work together (in small groups, and as a class) to perform the research projects. Your job is to document the methods and results of these short experiments. The projects are designed to be specific enough to be doable, while introducing students to several key research methods in experimental phonetics.

Final Paper: The final paper for the course should be an expanded version of one of the homework projects, in which you collect more data than was available for the homework project, and conduct research to address a question related to, but not identical to the homework question.


1. Acoustic/auditory MODULATION as a factor in cross-linguistic patterns of phonotactics. Ohala sees this modulation idea as a major competitor to the sonority hierarchy, and would like to see it tested beyond what he has been able to do. Involves: acoustic recordings, acoustic and auditory data extraction, distance modeling, and perceptual methodologies.

Ohala, John J. & Kawasaki-Fukumori, Haruko. 1997 Alternatives to the sonority hierarchy for explaining segmental sequential constraints. In Stig Eliasson & Ernst Hokon Jahr (eds.), Language And Its Ecology: Essays In Memory Of Einar Haugen. Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs, Vol. 100. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 343-365

2. Vocal FRY. An EGG study of vocal fry as a dialect marker among youth in the East Bay. Involves: Sociolinguistics, Electroglottography, functional data analysis (a technique for analyzing EGG) and perceptual evaluation of voices.

Google:vocal fry

Wolk, L.; Abdelli-Beruh, N.B.; and Slavin, D. (2012) Habitual use of vocal fry in young adult female speakers. Journal of Voice 26(3), e111-e116.

Yuasa, I.P. (2010) Creaky voice: A new feminine voice quality for young urban-oriented upwardly mobile American women. American Speech 85(3), 315-337.

3. FRICATION with different vocal tract configurations. An aerodynamic study of the physical factors involved in frication, with acoustic and auditory evaluation of the factors. Involves: aerodynamic recordings, dental impressions, static palatography, and producing physical models of the vocal tract with a 3D printer.

Shadle, C.H.; Berezina, M.; Proctor, M.; Iskarous K. (2008) Mechanical Models of Fricatives Based on MRI-derived Vocal Tract Shapes. 8th International Seminar on Speech Production.

van Hirtum, A.; Pelorson,X.; Estienne, O.; and Bailliet, H. (2011) Experimental validation of flow models for a rigid vocal tract replica. J.Acoust. Soc. Am. 130(4), 2128-38.

Solé, M.J. (2011) Effects of syllable position on sound change: An aerodynamic study of final fricative weakening. J. Phonetics 38(2), 289-305.

4. Phonetic ACCOMMODATION and personality. A study of how people tend to adopt phonetic properties of an interlocutor with a particular interest in how personality characteristics relate to this. Involves acoustic manipulation of target words, social psychology personality testing, and acoustic analysis.

Dimov, Sevtlin, Shira Katseff & Keith Johnson (2012). Social and parsonality variables in compensation for altered auditory feedback. In Maria-Josep Solé and Daniel Recasens (eds.), The initiation of sound change: Perception, production, and social factors. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 185-210.

Babel, M. (2012). Evidence for phonetic and social selectivity in spontaneous phonetic imitation. Journal of Phonetics 40, pp. 177-189.