Linguistics graduate student Charlie Redmon was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research grant for his dissertation project on Lexical Acoustics. In this project, Redmon develops a novel approach to the study of sound systems in speech: one where the acoustic structure of the system is determined not from the phoneme inventory, but rather from the complex ensemble of distinctions between words in the lexicon. Redmon plans to use a large acoustic database of controlled productions of over 26,000 isolated English words and data from six perception experiments: two replications of an open-class word identification task and a two-alternative forced choice (2AFC) task, and two experiments implementing a cross-splicing design to test for causal relevance of cues identified in the above experiments to model the distributed acoustic information contributed by obstruents throughout the English lexicon. From this approach Redmon aims to provide not only more scalable estimates of the perceptual utility of different features of the acoustic signal, but to motivate a phonetic analysis of speech as a complex system emergent from, and fundamentally dependent on, the lexicon.
Redmon works on this project with Drs. Jongman, Sereno, Tremblay, and Zhang in Linguistics, and Dr. Vitevitch in Psychology.
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