Current Projects

From Acoustics To Phonology

Advised By: Naomi Feldman and Ellen Lau

I aim to address the question of how humans take an acoustic signal of speech and turn that into a phonological representation of their language. This project is the main focus of my PhD work.

The Language Familiarity Effect In Infancy

Advised By: Thomas Schatz and Naomi Feldman

Human listeners are better at telling apart speakers of their native language than speakers of other languages, a phenomenon known as the language familiarity effect. While most accounts of this effect in adults require abstract phonological knowledge or comprehension of the speech itself, the effect has also been observed in infants as young as 4.5 months of age who are unlikely to have such sophisticated knowledge. Using algorithms from unsupervised machine learning and automatic speech recognition we are building models to demonstrate how children may show this effect without requiring any sophisticated linguistic knowledge.

Related Work:

Thorburn, C., Feldman, N. H., & Schatz, T. (2019). "A quantitative model of the language familiarity effect in infancy." Proceedings of the Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience.