Talk – Suyeon Im

Phonatics will be meeting next week, November 15th. Our speaker will be Suyeon Im from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The title and abstract for her talk can be found below:

Evaluating the domain of f0 encoding with imitated speech

What is the appropriate segmentation of a phrasal f0 contour that corresponds to the domain in which intonational features are cognitively encoded? We investigate this question for American English by modeling f0 contour similarity between imitated sentences and their stimuli over domains of varying size and prosodic status, from the syllable to the prosodic phrase. Results show the greatest similarity between imitated and stimulus f0 contours for the contour modeled holistically in the domain of the entire intermediate phrase. These findings are contrary to the predictions of the compositional AM model, and are also surprising in light of claims that the prenuclear region does not encode semantic/pragmatic meaning.

Talk – Teresa Pratt

Phonatics will be meeting next week, November 1st. Our speaker will be Teresa Pratt from Stanford University. The title and abstract for her talk can be found below:

Embodying toughness: LOT-raising, /l/-velarization, and retracted articulatory setting

Recent work on sociolinguistic style has considered the indexical potential of embodied behaviors related to speech, e.g. facial expression and jaw setting. In this paper I examine two sociophonetic variables to explore the link between articulatory setting and stylistic practice. Drawing on a year-long ethnography at a public arts high school in the San Francisco Bay Area, I show that one group of students within the school use raised LOT and velarized /l/ at higher rates than their peers. This group of students is part of the ‘technical theater’ track, which is distinct from the others in that students engage in manual labor and using professional-grade tools to construct sets for school productions and events. These students self-describe and are described by peers as “rowdy” “assholes” who wear black clothes and work boots, carry knives, and are “handy” by virtue of “always building stuff.” Notably, both of the variants used by these students—raised LOT and velarized /l/—are characterized by the backing and raising of the tongue root. I suggest that tech students rely more generally on a retracted articulatory setting, and that this articulatory setting is indexical of the salient stylistic characteristic of the individuals using it: toughness. By virtue of the stylistic co-occurrence of students’ linguistic, embodied, sartorial, and social practices, these retracted variants and corresponding articulatory setting can come to index a holistic style of embodied toughness.

Talk – Ann Bradlow

Phonatics will be meeting next week, Wednesday Oct. 25th, from 4-5pm in Cresap 101. Ann Bradlow, Professor of Linguistics here at Northwestern, will be giving a practice talk for a special session at the 2017 ASHA Annual Convention. The title, abstract, and an outline of the ASHA special session are provided below.

High variability speech training in and out of the lab

Ann Bradlow
Department of Linguistics

What is the most effective way to improve perception and production of novel speech sounds?  In this presentation, I will review the principle behind a particularly effective approach to novel speech sound learning, namely the high variability training approach.  I will then present data from two lines of research that have explored this training principle in laboratory-based studies: (1) acquisition of the English /r/-/l/ contrast by Japanese listeners, and (2) perceptual adaptation to foreign-accented English by native speakers of American English.  Translation of this basic research to clinics, classrooms, and other real-world settings is the next frontier for this research agenda.

This is a practice talk for a special session at the 2017 ASHA Annual Convention on Nov 9th.
Topic Area: Cultural and Linguistic Issues
Session Title: High Variability Speech Training & Practical Aspects of Accent Modification
Session Format: Short Course
Time-Ordered Agenda:

  1. Introduction and overview 5 min Lisa Lasalle
  2. High variability speech training in and out of the lab, 50 mins. Ann Bradlow
  3. Management of speech sound disorders vs. providing accent modificatioon services, 35 mins. Amber Franklin
  4. Measuring comprehensibility, degree of accentedness, and baseline intelligibility. 35 mins Amee Shah
  5. Use of visual and kinesthetic methods to improve sound differentiation 35 mins Jenna Luque
  6. Question and Answer 20 mins – Panel


Welcome to the new website for Phonatics! We are a discussion group on sound structure and processing at Northwestern University. Read more about us here and see a list of our current members here. On this site, you’ll be able to find up-to-date information about our meetings and schedule. If you have any questions or are interested in presenting at a meeting, please feel free to contact Eleanor Chodroff at firstName dot lastName at northwestern dot edu. If you would like to receive updates about our group, please subscribe to the mailing list here. Looking forward to the new year!