Current Research Projects

The E-muet

My primary research interest is the French schwa (also known as the e-muet or the e-caduc.) This is the <e> that can be deleted in every day speech in French (ie. un cerise ~ un c'rise ; une fête ~ une fêt' ; rappeler ~ rapp'ler). My research employs large amounts of data to work toward a purely phonological redefinition of the e-muet. I am interested in this phenomenon from four distinct points of view.

I am also interested in the use of large-scale corpora for both their research and pedagogical implications.  Part of my dissertation research focuses on the cleaning and further specification data in the PFC corpus. More specifically, what can large amounts of data tell us about phonological variation? Corpora are also valuable pedagogical tools. How can language teachers incorporate large-scale oral corpora into their syllabi, specifically to improve and instruct pronunciation and practical phonetics? Future research projects will include fieldwork to modernize the corpus as well as add survey points of  under-documented varieties of French.

Nasal Vowel Elision (with Adam McBride)

This research program investigates a subset of data from Prof. McBride's research program on the phonetics of nasal vowels in native speakers of French as well as learners of French. We are interested in a previously undocumented phenomenon: the deletion of the nasal vowel in the possessive adjective son (ie. son appartement ~ sn'appartement.) What exactly are the phonetics of this elidable vowel as well as the phonological contexts which may condition the zero realization of this vowel?

Mid-Vowel Variation in French & Italian (with Margaret E.L. Renwick)

Prof. Renwick has conducted extensive research on the marginal contrast in the Italian mid-vowel system.  Our work together is looking at how we can formalize her findings in a maximum entropy grammar making use of scaled constraints as a means of incorporating the phonetic factors that largely influence a speaker's realization of /e/ and /o/. We are also applying her initial methodology to the mid-vowel system of Parisian French nd formalizing these results with the hopes of exploring similarities between these equally complex vowel systems.


Journal Articles

Submissions to Edited Volumes

Conference Presentations

Invited Talks & Presentations