Susan Lin

Current projects

Articulatory overlap in /Cl-/ clusters in children's speech

With Sharon Inkelas, I ran a series of follow-up post-hoc analyses of articulatory and acoustic data from previous work which suggests that the structure of English may push children towards developing and adopting the complex lateral production found in English. In particular, the development of complex /l/s in English occurs around the same time as development of /kl-/ onset clusters (such as in "clap" or "close"), and the ability to produce a lateral using a tongue body constriction would reduce the articulatory difficulty of such clusters. The data show that children do produce complex laterals early on, but only in /kl-/ onset clusters at first, by around 4 years. Use of the new articulatory routine spreads to singleton /l-/ onsets and /sl-/ clusters later, when the children are around 7-years-old. Portions of this study were presented in 2016, at the International Child Phonology Conference [pptx], and at LabPhon15 [pptx].

Production and perception of nasality in Amazonian languages

The objective of this collaboration with Lev Michael and Myriam Lapierre is to document the production and perception of nasality in Amazonian languages. In this project, we use oral and nasal airflow data to support existing phonological analyses for a variety of nasal phenomena, and to further probe their interactions. We then use the articulatory and acoustic evidence to construct perception experiments to employ in the field, which will test the extent to which coarticulatory cues are used by native speakers of these languages in speech perception.

Phonetic instruction and visual feedback in L2 contrast learning

This research project is a collarboation with Emily Cibelli (now at Northwestern University), Alice Shen, and Meg Cychosz. In her dissertation, Cibelli (2015) found that teaching speakers about their articulators (such as their tongue) improved their ability to both produce and perceive new language sounds, and that these speakers were quantifiably better at producing these contrasts than their peers, who did not receive explicit phonetic training.

In this follow-up study, we exposed a third group of speakers to a live stream of their own tongues, using ultrasound imaging, while they practiced the new sounds they were learning. Our preliminary results suggest that the addition of visual feedback facilitates speakers’ acquisition of the new contrasts, and were presented as a poster at the 91st Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America [pdf].

Articulation of coronal consonants in Kaytetye

In this a joint research project with Myfany Turpin, Mark Harvey and Katherine Demuth, we document and describe the physiological realization of the large number of coronal contrasts that exist in Kaytetye, using both acoustic recordings and lingual ultrasound imaging. These articulatory data have been presented at the 44th Annual Conference on Australian Linguistics [pptx], at Ultrafest VI [pdf], and at LabPhon 14 [pdf].

Our data also demonstrate a hitherto undocumented non-contrastive pre-stopping of lateral consonants by Kaytetye speakers. A description and analysis of this finding, especially as it relates to contrastive pre-stopping of nasal consonants in Kaytetye, were reported at the Chicago Linguistic Society's 49th meeting, in 2013 [pdf] and appears in the Australian Journal of Linguistics [link].

The articulations of pre-stopped/plain laterals and pre-stopped/plain nasals were reported at the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences [pdf], in which the differences in articulation are argued to relate to contrastive status. Further exploration of this argument, including acoustic and articulatory analyses the full coronal series is under revision.

Clear speech in vowel-quantity contrasting languages

It is well established that during production of "clear" speech, most speakers both increase vowel duration and expand their vowel space. This project attempts to tease apart the spectral from the temporal by comparing "casual" and "clear" speech in languages which have a phonemic vowel length distinction.

Past projects

Acquisition of speech gestures

One of the fundamental issues in developmental phonology is why some speech sounds (e.g. /m/, /w/) are acquired early whereas others are acquired much later (e.g. /l/, /r/, /tʃ/). This project explores the possibility that one of the factors delaying development of at least some late-acquired speech sounds is that they require coordination of multiple lingual articulators.

In collaboration with Katherine Demuth at Macquarie University, ultrasound video of tongues during production of one such late-acquired sound, /l/, was collected, from Australia English learning children. Results appear in the Proceedings of the 37th Boston University Child Language and Development Conference [pdf] and in the Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research [pdf].

Lateral vocalization in Australian English

Post-vocalic /l/-vocalization is a known change in progress in Australian English, with diverse regional variation in its extent and realization. This project, with Felicity Cox and Sallyanne Palethorpe seeks to document contemporary /l/ articulation in speakers of both vocalizing and non-vocalizing varieties of Australian English, using a auditory and acoustic metrics as well as articulatory techniques, to gain a better understanding of how /l/-vocalization occurs, why it occurs, and how it spreads in a population.

Results from a small subset of ultrasound imaging data appear in the Proceedings of the 14th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (2012) [pdf].

Lexical frequency effects in sound change

This project, in collaboration with Pam Beddor and Andries Coetzee, examines the role of lexical frequency on degree of excursion of articulators in laterals in /CVlC/ contexts, such as “milk” and “help,” using ultrasound imaging and acoustic analysis. This work appears in Laboratory Phonology [link], in which the findings are linked to the initiation and spread of sound change.

Last modified: October 29 2017 21:40:34.