Natasha Warner's current and recent research
Copies of downloadable papers and posters are available on the publications
- Production and processing of reduced speech. The
main focus of the Douglass Phonetics Lab at this point is reduced
the kind of "sloppy" speech one hears all the time in normal
conversation and many other speech styles. We are examining both
acoustics of reduced speech and perception and psycholinguistic
processing of it. We have been working on several sub-projects in this
area. Daily-life casual speech is filled with rampant reduction and
variability (sounds and syllables disappearing, voiceless stops
appearing as voiced approximants, vowels appearing as voiceless
fricatives, etc.), and yet the vast majority of speech research
examines careful, non-reduced speech, often words produced in
isolation. This is not the type of speech most of us process during
most of every day. We are studying reduced speech through a large
acoustic study of American English flaps, analyzing for example how
often flaps surface as approximants rather than true flaps, how much
variability within and among speakers there is in reduction, how much
reduction is explained by speech style vs. speech rate vs. word
frequency, etc. We are also studying processing of reduced speech
through phonetic identification, lexical decision, and cross-modal
identity priming experiments. We are beginning to explore how
second language learners or listeners from another dialect perceive
reduced speech. Recent and current students of the lab have also
examined how listeners process Japanese vowel reduction/devoicing
(Naomi Ogasawara), whether Mandarin tones show reduction in the tone
space (Jeff Berry), and whether native Mandarin listeners can
distinguish certain consonants in spontaneous speech (Anna Woods).
Collaborators on this overall project include
Ben Tucker (U. Alberta, Edmonton), Amy Fountain (U. Arizona), and
Mirjam Ernestus (Radboud U., Nijmegen).
- Revitalization of the Mutsun language. Mutsun
was spoken near San Juan Bautista, California, until approximately
1930, when the last fluent speaker died. The Mutsun community has been
working on revitalization since 1996. Natasha Warner and a group at the
University of Arizona participate by compiling a dictionary from
published sources and field notes, and by assisting in the development
of language teaching materials. NEH Preservation and Access funding
(2005-2007) and a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Public Scholarship Grant
(2003) have allowed us to enter all of the existing documentation about
Mutsun into databases and analyze it, leading to a much clearer
understanding of the language for revitalization purposes.
Collaborators: Quirina Luna (Amah Mutsun tribe), Lynnika Butler
(University of Arizona), Heather van Volkinburg (Columbia University),
and numerous student volunteers.
- The relationship of intonation and speech segmentation. (Completed project)
This project investigates whether the pitch rise at the beginning of an
accentual phrase in Japanese can serve as a word boundary cue. A
corpus study suggests that it should make a good boundary cue, and a
perception experiment indicates that listeners can use this cue for
segmentation. We have also investigated the pitch rise cue in
several speech styles (e.g. conversation vs. newscasting).
Collaborators: Takayuki Arai (Sophia University, Tokyo), Takashi Otake
(Dokkyo University, Tokyo), Lynnika Butler (University of Arizona).
- Navajo spoken word recognition and phonetics.
The spoken word recognition aspect of this project investigates how
speakers of Navajo process verbs and nouns with either few or many
morphemes, focussing especially on the role of the verbal morphology in
recognition. The phonetics aspect of this project examines influences
of the first and second language phonologies on phonological
categories, where Navajo and English are the first and second
languages, in fluent speakers, semi-fluent speakers, and novice
learners of Navajo. Collaborators: Mary Willie (University of Arizona),
Alina Twist (University of Arizona), James McQueen (Max Planck
Institute, Nijmegen). This project is currently on hold.
- Incomplete neutralization in Dutch. (Completed
project) This project investigates the production and perception of
neutralization of voicing in final position in Dutch, which appears to
involve the maintenance of very small differences in duration
(incomplete neutralization). This study also investigates the influence
of orthography in creating such sub-phonemic differences.
Collaborators: Allard Jongman (University of Kansas), Joan Sereno
(University of Kansas), Rachel Kemps (University of Nijmegen).
- Phonology and speech segmentation in Korean.
(Completed project) This project investigates listeners’ use of
language-specific phonology in segmenting speech in Korean. In this
project, we found that segmentation is affected by phonotactic
constraints, even though these phonotactic constraints are variable and
are created by several interacting aspects of Korean phonology.
Collaborators: Jeesun Kim (University of Melbourne), Chris Davis
(University of Melbourne), Anne Cutler (Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen).
- Stop epenthesis. (Completed project) This
project investigates the production and perception of epenthetic stops
between nasals and following obstruents, such as the optional [k] in
“youngster.” The project focuses primarily on Dutch. This
research has shown that listeners quite often interpret phonetically
variable epenthetic stops as real tokens of the stop phoneme, and that
listeners are influenced by phonotactic constraints of their language
in doing so: they are less likely to report epenthetic stops when the
epenthetic stops would violate phonotactic constraints of the language.
Collaborator: Andrea Weber (Max Planck Institute).
- Vowel epenthesis. (Completed project) This
project uses articulatory data on the production of /l/ before
epenthetic schwa in Dutch, and argues that the light/dark /l/
alternation in Dutch contradicts the assumption of Articulatory
Phonology that gestures cannot be inserted in the process of speech
production. Collaborators: Allard Jongman (University of Kansas), Anne
Cutler (Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen), Doris Mücke (University
- Perception of gated Dutch diphones. (Completed
project) This project provides a large database on how listeners’
perception of sounds changes over time as the acoustic signal unfolds.
This information is being used as input to a new Bayesian model of
spoken word recognition, Shortlist-B. Collaborators: Roel Smits
(formerly Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen), James McQueen (Max Planck
Institute, Nijmegen), Anne Cutler (Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen).