Brunch with my awesome students to celebrate the end of the year/semester. Thank you for your great contributions to the lab! Congrats to Gaby for graduating! Karen and Andrea, we missed you!


Come see Jeff Elman give a talk today!!

Fri, May 16, 2014 • 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM • CLA 1.104

 I present this talk as a story. The story begins and ends with words, and it concludes with a proposal for a new way of thinking about the meaning of words. The suggestion is that words do not have meaning. Instead, words are cues to meaning.

The story follows four decades of research that led to this proposal (not to fear—it will not take that long to tell). It begins with the development of a computational mechanism to model time sequences, initially focused on words. Prediction emerges as a valuable tool for both learning and assessing learning, and ultimately leads to an unanticipated exploration of event knowledge, causation, inferencing, and language deficits. And from here the story returns to words and the development of the “words as cues” hypothesis.


Dr. Elman received his doctorate in linguistics from UT Austin in 1977.  He is the recipient of the Graduate School’s Outstanding Alumnus Award for 2014 and will be honored at the doctoral convocation on Saturday, May 17. Currently Dr. Elman is Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California San Diego, where he serves as the Dean of Social Sciences. He is also co-director of Kavli Institute for Brain & Mind.

For the text of the Graduate School’s announcement of Dr. Elman’s awards, see: http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/awards/news/prof-winners2014.html

Providence ASA

It was a great week of talks and poster presentations at the ASA meeting! Seeing old friends/collaborators and meeting new colleagues was a bonus! Rachael, Belle and Karen presented “Speaking style adaptations across the lifespan.”  Suzanne and Rajka gave a talk: “Timecourse of word recognition for listener-oriented speaking style adaptations.”   Finally, Rajka gave an overview of the Speech Communication research.

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Brandon successfully defended his dissertation titled: “An Acoustic Analysis of Contrastive Focus Marking in Spanish-K’ichee’
(Mayan) Bilingual Intonation.” Congratulations, Brandon! Good luck in Vermont!

We had great presence at the UT research week. We presented several posters and all URAs did great! Maddie Oakley, Cristabella Trimble-Quiz and Gaby Cook were honored as distinguished scholars at the UT honors day. Cindy Blanco has been awarded Named Continuing Fellowships for Academic Year 2014-15. Cristabella Trimble-Quiz received a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Scholarship to study in Taiwan for 2014-2015. Maddie Oakley was accepted to the Teaching Assistant Program in France for the upcoming academic year.I couldn’t be more proud of all of you!! Congratulations2014-04-12 13.38.33 2014-04-12 15.57.35 2014-04-14 16.52.17 2014-04-14 16.52.46 2014-04-16 10.46.08 2014-04-16 10.59.00!!

We are looking forward to Michelle and Eric’s visit!! Come see their talk on Mon, April 14, 2014 • 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM • CLA 1.302D


The UT Department of Linguistics

Presents a Colloquium;

Erick Gallun & Michelle Molis(Oregon Health and Science University)



“Measuring and modeling spectral change sensitivity in listeners with impaired hearing”

Speech is an inherently dynamic signal and listeners use changes in the acoustic signal as cues to phoneme identity. The loss of peripheral auditory sensitivity, precise temporal processing, and frequency selectivity associated with hearing impairment will disrupt the perception of spectral change resulting in reduced speech understanding. We are planning to assess the ability of a psychophysically-motivated metric of spectral change to model the perceptual auditory sensitivity of listeners with hearing impairment.  The model  incorporates the spectral and temporal consequences of hearing loss. Results will be presented from a spectral-ripple discrimination task used to evaluate listeners’ frequency-resolving power, and the application of task outcomes to model development will be discussed.


Michelle R. Molis
Assistant Research Professor, Dept. of Otolaryngology
Oregon Health & Science University
Research Investigator, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research
Portland VA Medical Center

Frederick J. Gallun
Associate Professor, Dept. of Otolaryngology and Neuroscience Graduate Program
Oregon Health & Science University
Research Investigator, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research
Portland VA Medical Center

Speech Prosody 2014!

Niamh’s paper “Monosyllabic Lexical Pitch Contrasts in Norwegian”‘ has been accepted for presentation at the Speech Prosody conference in Dublin! Niamh has been away this semester working hard in Europe collecting her dissertation data :)  This work is supported by the NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant.


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