My phonological interests surround Wichita, a language historically spoken in and around Oklahoma. Like many Native American languages, it is polysynthetic and thus has a lot of interaction between phonology and morphology. I have recently been looking at looking at the consonant cluster resolution strategies -- specifically to better understand their motivation (syllable structure conditions vs. phonologization of phonetic tendencies) and their interaction with the morphology.
Appalachian English shares many features with other Southern dialects. In "Southern Breaking in Appalachia," which I wrote in 2005, I analyzed the lax vowels of a West Virginia female college student for "vowel breaking," or diphthongization, a feature found in Southern speech. I found that the subject had a high proportion of "broken" vowels, regardless of preceding or following segment. The diphthongization appeared to be the result of extending formant transitions far into the duration of the vowels. Anyone may email me at for more details, or a copy of this paper.
Lauren Asia Hall-Lew
One of my primary research interests is US English dialectology, specifically regionally differentiated vowel shift patterns and changes in progress. My work focuses on the vowel systems of different social communities in Northern Arizona, specifically documenting changes in the fronting of back vowel nuclei, the raising of front low vowels before nasals, and changes in the front lax vowel system.
My interest in social and geographically dialectology also extends to the Akan language group, a major member of the Kwa family spoken primarily in Ghana, West Africa. I'm currently beginning research on phonological variation in verbal reduplication patterns both within and between dialects of Akan.
In general I am interested in Prominence and its phonetic correlates, prosody, and metrical theory. I am also interested in the effect of morphosyntactic features and different kinds of morphological and syntactic boundaries on morphophonemic alternations. I have looked at these issues specifically with respect to gemination and de-gemination in Tamil and Italian dialects.
Currently I am also working on a corpus-study of Dante's meter (exploring the hypothesis that it is a quantity-sensitive iambic pentameter), and an analysis of split subject-agreement in Dogrib, a Northern Athabaskan language.
R. L. Starr
Phonological Variation in Shanghai Mandarin
R. L. Starr and Dan Jurafsky
A corpus study of 100 speakers of Shanghai Mandarin, examining variation in the retroflex-alveolar distinction in relation to social variables age, gender, and education. Paper presented at NWAV 2004
The syntax-phonology interface, the Principle of Phonology-Free Syntax (PPFS), shapes, and realizational morphophonemics: Since 1968 I have been working on topics in the syntax-phonology interface, including clitics and sandhi; early on, this led to my formulating the PPFS as a guiding principle. Since 1973 my exploration of the PPFS has largely been a collaboration with Geoffrey K. Pullum. More recently, notably in a 2002 graduate seminar at Stanford, I've been working on the "shapes" of words in syntactic contexts. In tandem with the PPFS research, I've been exploring a realizational framework for morphology, which involves examining the details of nonautomatic morphophonological alternations in this framework, especially stem alternations, and studying suppletion in paradigms.