‘Prosody’ encompasses all those acoustic aspects of an utterance that are not due to the choice of words, but reflect syntactic grouping, emphasis, negotiate turn-taking, reflect emotional attitude, or distinguish different speech acts. Our research addresses two key questions: (i) What information about speaker and context is reflected in prosody? (ii) How much of this information is retrieved by the listener, and how is it used in speech processing?

Prosody is partly the result of processing effects such as planning and lexical retrieval and partly it itself is part of the message, and encodes important information. We all have internalized intricate conventions about prosody, just like we have internalized conventions about what particular words mean and how they can be combined to form sentences. So part of our research is trying to better understand how languages differ in their prosodic grammars.

Investigating prosody requires integrating insights from different disciplines, including psycho-linguistics experimentation, signal processing and modelling the semantics and pragmatics of prosody, and our lab tries to do just that…

One current project: The intonational Bestiary

Current Grants:

2020–2025   The incremental mind: Prosody as a window into the gradual formation of a sentence while speaking SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2020-0705

2018–2023 Three dimensions of sentence prosody NSERC Discovery Grant. RGPIN-2018-06153

Past Grants: 

2014-2019 Breaking into the Acoustic Stream: The role of allophonic patterns in processing language. SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2014-1504. Co-PI: Meghan Clayards.

2009-2019 Canada Research Chair in Speech and Language Processing.

Relative Prosodic Boundary Strength and its Role in Encoding Syntactic Structure. (SSHRC Standard Research Grant. 2011-2014.

SSHRC Conference Grant: Experimental and Theoretical Advances in Prosody (ETAP) 2. 2012-2013

Developing mobile learning applications for the Mi’gmaq language: New opportunities for language research and revitalization.SSHRC Connection Grant. Co-Applicant.  Applicant: Jessica Coon. 2013-2014

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. A Community/Linguistics Collaboration for Revitalizing Mi’gmaq in Listuguj. Co-applicant. Applicant: Jessica Coon. 2011-2013

La prosodie: production, perception et différences interlinguistiques (FQRSC, Établissement de nouveaux chercheurs, NP-132516. 2009-2012)

Harvesting Speech Datasets for Linguistic Research on the Web (NSF/SSHRC Digging into data Challenge. 2010-2012. With Mats Rooth at Cornell University)

Soutien aux équipes de recherche: Les interfaces de la syntaxe (PI: Lisa Travis). FQRSC team grant 144646. 2011-2015.

Effects de maturation sur l’acquisition et le traitement langagiers (PI: Lydia White. FQRSC team grant 2009-SE-130727 . Team member 2009-2010, collaborator 2010-2013)

Canada Research Chair in Speech and Language Processing (SSHRC Tier 2 Canada Research Chair. 2009-2014 )

Encoding and Retrieving Information with Prosody: Perception and Eye-Tracking Lab. Canada Foundation for Innovation (2009-2012).

Experimental and Theoretical Advances in Prosody. Funding for a conference an international conference on prosody at Cornell University. (NSF 0642660)