My Research Interests

My research focuses on Second Language Phonology, especially in terms of speech production and perception and what these tell us about the phonological systems of L2 learners. I use experimental methods to investigate theoretical issues and questions that are relevant to second language speech, with an aim to determining how L2 phonological systems may differ from those of L1 speakers, and how multilingual systems may differ from those of monolinguals. My work has mostly revolved around L2 speakers of English and Spanish, though I am in the planning stages of a project related to heritage speakers of Maya K'iche'.

Work in progress

  • Perception of hiatus in Spanish
  • In work that grew out of my dissertation, I have been investigating the perception of hiatus in L2 speakers of Spanish. In comparison with speakers bilingual in Spanish and English, do L2 speakers of Spanish perceive glide~vowel sequences as diphthongs or as vowels in hiatus? Collaborator: Daniel Scarpace, UIUC
  • L2 Phonotactic knowledge
  • This work, my PhD dissertation from UCSD, focuses on the learning of a subset in L2 phonotactics, looking specifically at final codas and glide-vowel sequences in English and Spanish. I show that learning a subset appears to be unproblematic for L2 learners, as evidenced by speech perception tasks.
  • Reduplication in child phonology
  • This work is a theoretical analysis of different patterns of reduplication in child language acquisition, concentrating on the more rare pattern of reduplication of monosyllabic words. Collaborators: Jessica Barlow and Sarah Cragg of San Diego State University
  • Spirantization in L2 Spanish
  • This project investigates the effect of input on the process of spirantization in L2 learners of Spanish, determining whether input that differs in terms of markedness makes a significant difference in the production of spirants. Collaborator: Lisa Rosenfelt, UCSD
  • Pre-aspiration in Tohono O'odham
  • This project is an acoustic analysis of pre-aspiration, relying on legacy recordings of Tohono O'odham. Collaborator: Colleen Fitzgerald, UT Arlington

...and previous projects

  • Stop epenthesis
  • This project investigated the perception and production of stop epenthesis, looking at the degree of production of stops in pairs like 'tense' and 'tents'. Collaborators: Amalia Arvaniti (UCSD) and Ryan Shosted (UIUC)
  • Intrusive vowels in Spanish
  • This project focused on the factors that may predict the presence of an intrusive vowel, such that 'gringa' is pronounced with a vowel between the [g] and the [r] ('geringa'). Collaborators: James Kirby (U Chicago) and Kathryn McGee (Cooke) (UCSD)
  • Bilingual VOT in El Paso, Texas
  • This workexamined VOT values in monolingual and bilingual speakers of Spanish and English, showing that while the bilinguals made a clear distinction between Spanish and English VOT values, both their English and Spanish values differed significantly from those of monolingual speakers of these languages.
  • Double modals in Southern English
  • What do Southerners really mean when they say something like "I might could do that"? This work undertook a description and analysis of the instances in which double modals are acceptable in (my variety of) Texas English.
  • Optionality in Spanish clitic placement
  • Spanish clitics are generally thought to be interchangeable in placement, so that 'Te quiero ver' is in most instances equally acceptable to 'quiero verte'. This paper presents an Optimality Theoretic analysis of how this optionality can arise.