Relating How language processing impacts the construction of social identities for speakers of African American English

This project focuses on the study of language and its relation to social identities. It is well known that language reveals properties of how the human mind works and how speakers build and maintain social identities. Traditionally, these two domains of research have been pursued independently. The current project bridges this gap with an experimental investigation of how language processing impacts the construction of social identities for speakers of African American English.

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Preserving the Language of Tribal Elders: Documentation of Creek (Muscogee) as Spoken within the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

Hello! My name is Sarah Fredrick and I am a double Linguistics and Psychology major at W&M interested in the field of linguistic documentation and revitalization. Language documentation aims to provide a comprehensive record of the linguistic practices of a speech community. Linguists in this field seek to provide descriptions of under-documented and endangered languages by collecting and analyzing primary linguistic data through work with native speakers.

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The Perception of Korean Consonants


My name is Anna Henshaw, and I am a sophomore and a Linguistics major. My project this summer will deal with the perception of a certain group of Korean consonants; what characteristics of the consonants and their surrounding vowels are the strongest cues for perceiving that specific consonant.

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1,575 sound clips later…

and I can finally say I finished listening to all my data! It was definitely one of the more tedious aspects of this research project and there was absolutely no way around it. My study ended up having 35 participants, each providing data for 45 words. Each participant’s sound file took at least 30 minutes to listen through (for those of you keeping track, that’s 17.5+ hours of listening to made up words) so this was an incredibly daunting task. Chugging through everything took a lot of breaks, some encouragement from my advisor, and a considerable amount of ‘sound free time’ after everything was finished.

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Investigating Factors Influencing Metathesis

Hi everyone,
My name is Kelsey Renoll and I’m a sophomore at the College. I’m a linguistics and psychology double major and my work this summer will be, as the title of this posts suggest, an investigation of factors influencing metathesis.
Metathesis is a linguistic phenomenon by which two sounds in a word switch places. It’s a rare phenomenon, so little is known about it but instances of it taking place can be seen historically, in daily speech, and as a phonological process. A famous historical example is the metathesis of s and k in the English word ask, which used to be said aks or h and r in the English word horse, which used to be hrose. Metathesis is also found in a number of the world’s languages as a phonological process and  even happens in daily speech (e.g. saying nuculer instead of nuclear).
As little is known about the subject, my aim this summer is to investigate metathesis in a more experimental setting in order to discover any factors that might contribute to its occurrence. My work will be based in uncovering what is currently known about metathesis and why it happens and comparing that to any findings from my experimentation. Without giving too much away about my methodology, my work will essentially consist of identifying what settings make metathesis more or less likely based on data collected from speech production experiments.Ideally, my experimentation will yield results in line with the current understanding of metathesis, but I have yet to find another experimental investigation of metathesis so I’m not entirely sure what to expect!