Professor, Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University

As a phonologist, I investigate the sound patterns of human languages. My research examines speech dynamics in human languages with a focus on prosody—the  intonation and temporal patterns of language. My broad goal is to understand the ways in which languages and dialects differ in their sound “profile” and the cognitive systems that support real-time speech production and comprehension. My work explores how prosody functions simultaneously to encode sentence and discourse structure, the speaker’s communicative intentions, their attitudes and emotions, and the dynamics of social interaction. I use computational and statistical methods to model prosody in experimental and corpus data, with an emphasis on methods that enable automated analysis of large, multi-talker/hearer datasets in all human languages. I have pioneered the use of crowd-sourced perceptual ratings of prosody as the basis for building models of prosody in diverse languages from around the world.

My current research includes collaborative work on prosody in individuals with autism and speech disorders related to neurological impairment, and a speech research infrastructure project to develop an open, scalable, data-driven framework to enable of language science researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to collaboratively develop holistic datasets that simultaneously represent language at many levels of description. A additional area of specialization is the phonology and phonetics of Sindhi, an Indo-Aryan language.

For information about my current research projects, please visit my lab website: Prosody and Speech Dynamics.