I am a fifth-year student (and recent PhD candidate!!!) in the graduate program of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Southern California. My primary research interests are in multimodal speech production and perception, experimental phonetics and phonology, and the morphology/phonology interface. I am a research assistant in the USC Phonetics Lab, and before that I was a  TA for LING 275: Language and Mind (I built a categorical perception website for the class – check it out here). I’m also an editor of the USCLing Blog.

img_0384My dissertation is on the topic of the coordination between the movements of the vocal tract and the movements of the hands and head during speech. I am interested in how bodily movements are timed with respect to movements of the speech articulators, and in particular, whether the details of this timing can help distinguish bodily movements based on the communicative tasks by which they are motivated. Although hand gestures and other bodily gestures during speech are idiosyncratic and non-obligatory, I believe they are more than just ‘paralinguistic’ and that there are some linguistically meaningful and predictable patterns that exist across speakers. In the short term, I aim to identify these patterns of speech and bodily gesture coordination, and in the long term, I aim to show that bodily gesture, whether merely conceived or actually enacted, is critical to the production and perception of speech.

My previous graduate research focused on psycholinguistics, phonology and morphology. My first screening paper was about the phonotactic influences on the position of an affix relative to a root in English derivational morphology. My second screening paper was about allomorphy in English demonyms (what you call a person from a certain place), and the phonological and non-phonological conditioning factors that can influence the choice of a given demonymic allomorph. As a research assistant, I have also worked on a project about prosodic convergence between two speakers. More information about this work may be found on my Research page.

img_0104When I find time away from school, I enjoy cooking and baking for my friends and family, reading about food and restaurants, seeing art and comedy shows, and going on travel adventures. I also volunteer as an Adult Literacy Program tutor at the Los Angeles Public Library, which has been an extremely rewarding experience. I try to see shows at all of Los Angeles’ ornate movie palaces and art deco venues, and I especially love indie cinema/TV/comedy, so I’m really enjoying attending Cinefamily and the USC School of Cinematic Arts‘s screenings and classes I’ve taken with Leonard Maltin and Mary McNamara.