My research focuses on the role of native language phonology in speech perception particularly in regards to speech segmentation. My research is strongly interdisciplinary, spanning not only Linguistics, but also Speech and Hearing Science and Physiology. I draw from psycholinguistics, formal and laboratory phonology, articulatory phonetics, anatomy and physiology, neurophysiology, corpus linguistics and work with both healthy and disordered populations. My work has both theoretical and clinical applications.
My primary research projects focuses on identifying the distributional biases incurred by native language phonology and examining how they inform speech segmentation strategies with both healthy and dysarthric speech. My primary means of assessing segmentation biases is by eliciting segmentation errors, either with healthy speech embedded in noise or with the use of dysarthric speech samples. My research currently looks not only at English, but also Spanish and Mandarin.
My interests in the influence of native language on speech perception stem from my dissertation, which explored how harmonic classes and non-adjacent dependencies (e.g. vowel patterns) may be represented within the lexicons of Mongolian speakers. This work, conducted in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, is the first psycholinguistic investigation of Mongolian.For more information about my Khalkha Mongolian Corpus, please click on the link in the drop down menu above.
My interest in the neural bases of speech production is strongly influenced by my experiences during a two-year post-doctoral position in the Department of Physiology at the University of Arizona. Under the direction of Dr. Fiona Bailey, my research focused on examining tongue structure and function in speech articulation through the use of electromyography (EMG), ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) of tongue structure. This work sought to gain insight into the neural control of lingual musculature during speech and respiration.
These research experiences have provided me with a unique and wide skill set and experience in diverse experimental methodologies: statistical analysis and design, basic computer programming for corpus statistics and stimuli creation, experiment programming and design, field research techniques, acoustic analysis, both single motor unit and whole muscle EMG, ultrasound, magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor imaging.