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Faculty Research Questions

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Ann Bradlow

  • Ann Bradlow
  • What exactly makes foreign-accented speech sound different from native-accented speech?
  • How do listeners adapt to foreign-accented speech, and is it harder (or maybe easier) to adapt to deviant speech you are a non-native listener yourself?
  • Why do we like to “turn up the volume” when listening to speech in a language that is not our native language?

Jennifer Cole

Jennifer Cole
  • What is the linguistic and social meaning that is conveyed by prosody - the pitch and rhythmic patterns of a spoken utterance? How does this vary across languages?
  • What is the role of prosody in the expression of affect and emotion- in adults and in children?
  • Are there differences among individuals in how they hear and comprehend prosody?
  • What is the cognitive representation of the prosodic patterns of a language, and of individual utterances?

Annette D'Onofrio

Annette D'Onofrio
  • How someone does’s speaking style lead us to make assumptions about what kind of person they are? How do our pre-existing ideas about someone shape how we perceive their speech? And how automatic, or conscious, are these processes?
  • What is the "Chicago accent" (or "accents")? How does it relate to local identities, geography, and social networks, and how is it changing over time?
  • How are broader patterns of variation in language (ways of speaking associated with region, gender, race, age, class, etc. at a macro level) connected with how language is used in specific interactions between individuals?

Matt Goldrick

Matt Goldrick
  • How do bilinguals control which language they speak in? What mental/neutral mechanisms do speakers use?
  • Does the way they pronounce a word reflect (in part) how difficult it was for you to retrieve it from memory? What does this reveal about how words are stored in memory?



Erin Leddon

Erin Leddon
  • How do humans acquire language as babies, and how does this process change throughout the lifespan? 
  • Which instructional strategies can promote effective language learning in adult learners?
  • How can instructors promote effective learning in the linguistics classroom?


Rob Voigt

Rob Voigt
  • How can we use techniques from computational linguistics to better understand and improve police-community relations? Can we evaluate the behavioral impacts of police training or departmental policy changes using machine learning models of officer language from body camera footage?
  • How have discourses surrounding immigrants to the US in congress, the media, and public life changed over historical time? How has language been used to dehumanize immigrants, and are linguistic representations of immigrants better today than they were 100 years ago?
  • How can we model the importance of multimodality - that is, not only lexical and syntactic content but prosodic and embodied contributions - to social outcomes in interaction? In what ways does being able to hear or see an interlocutor help facilitate cooperation in complex tasks? How do people use their voices and bodies to find common ground in difficult conversations?
  • Are there linguistic disparities in the way graduate school letters of recommendation are written on the basis of social factors of the applicant, such as gender and race? Or across disciplines? For instance, do disciplines with a more equitable gender distribution amongst faculty show fewer gender-based disparities than those with a less equitable distribution?

Gregory Ward

Gregory Ward
  • How do semantic and discourse factors affect the on-line psycholinguistic interpretation of transfer verbs (e.g. throw, give)?
  • What are the felicity conditions for the concurrent use of Topicalization + Left Dislocation (e.g. Billy Joel now him I can't stand)?
  • What are the pragmatic conditions that govern the use of various English demonstratives (e.g. Everyone thinks I'm this great big Lezzer)?
  • What is the information structure of non-canonical word orders (both in English and cross-linguistically)?

Masaya Yoshida

Masaya Yoshida
  • What is the structure of the invisible/unpronounced portion of sentences?
  • How do we build the structure of the invisible/unpronounced portion of sentences in realtime sentence understanding?
  • How do we build grammatical structures of sentence in realtime sentence understanding?


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