Structure in phonetic variability

When we talk we produce an acoustic signal that is rich and multidimensional. The acoustic cues signaling speech categories and words are spread across different acoustic dimensions and vary according to the immediate phonetic context, the prosodic structure, the speech style and even who is talking. This highly variable signal provides the raw material for the listener who must integrate aross dimensions and simultaneously extract many layers of information. We are interested in understanding both the structure of this signal and how listeners exploit it. We are examining how talkers differ in how they signal categories, and how higher level information like prominence due to information structure or mishearing and produciton planning influence phonetic cues. We also examine if and how listeners are able to make use of this information in real time as they understand language.

  • Tao, J., Torreira, F., Clayards, M. (2018) Durational cues to word boundaries in spontaneous speech. Proceedings of the 9th Speech Prosody Conference in Posnan, Poland [download]
  • Bang, H.-Y., Sonderegger, M , Kang. Y., Clayards, M., Yoon, T.-J., (2018) The emergence, progress, and impact of tonogenesis: Evidence from Seoul Korean. Journal of Phonetics, 66, 12-144. doi: 10.1016/j.wocn.2017.09.005 [pre print]
  • Clayards, M. (2018, in press 2016) Individual talker and token variability in multiple cues to stop voicing. Phonetica. 75:1-23 doi:10.1159/000448809 [pre print]
  • Mackenzie, S., Olson, E., Clayards, M., Wagner, M. (2018). North American/l/both darkens and lightens depending on morphological constituency and segmental context. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology, 9(1), 13. doi:
  • Bang, HY, Sonderegger, M., Clayards, M. (2017, April) Speaker variability in cue weighting for laryngeal contrasts: the relationship to sound change. Poster presented at the 4th Workshop on Sound Change, Edinborough, UK.[Poster]
  • Colby, S., Poulton, V., Clayards, M. (2017, April) Inhibition predicts lexical competition in older adults’ spoken word recognition. Poster presentation at Speech Perception and Production Across the Lifespan, London, UK.[Poster]
  • Clayards, M., Knowles, T. (2015) Prominence enhances voiceless-ness and not place distinction in English voiceless sibilants. Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Glasgow, UK. [Online]
  • Wagner, M., Clayards, M. (2013, July 12) Syntactic effects on variable phonological processes and the locality of production planning. Oral presentation at LSA 13 Workshop: Universality and variability in segment prosody interactions. Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Clayards, M., Hawkins, S., Gaskell, G. (2012, Sept) Listeners decode acoustic-phonetic cues to morphological structure. Oral presentation at Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP), Riva del Garda, Italy.

  • Learning to percieve and produce L2 vowels

    Learning to perceive and produce sounds that are not part of one's native language is notoriously difficult for adults. Some research suggests that experience with phonetic variability, including multiple talkers and multiple tokens, is helpful or even necessary to improve performance. It has also been suggested that in order to properly percieve L2 vowels, learners must shift what acoustic dimensions they pay attention to, and that learners go through a series of stages. We are examining the role of variability in L2 vowel learning as well as how attention shifts to the appropriate L2 acoustic dimensions using a mix of longitudinal studies with natural exposure and training studies with targeted exposure. We examine learning in both adults and children. We hope this research will contribute to models of L2 learning as well as improve L2 teaching practices.

  • Dong, H., Clayards, M., Brown, H., Wonnacott, E. (2019) The effects of high versus low talker variability and individual aptitude on phonetic training of Mandarin lexical tones. PeerJ, 7, e7191. doi:10.7717/peerj.7191 OSF files
  • Kim, D., Clayards, M., Goad, H. (2018) The acquisition of new vowel contrasts by Korean learners of English: A longitudinal study. Journal of Phonetics, 67, 1-20. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2017.11.003 [pre print]
  • Giannakopoulou, A., Brown, H., Clayards, M., Wonnacott, E. (2017) High or Low? Comparing high- and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learners. PeerJ 5:e3209 doi:10.7717/peerj.3209
  • Kim, D., Clayards, M., Goad, H. (2016) Individual differences in second language speech perception across tasks and contrasts. Linguistics Vanguard. 2(1), 11p. doi:10.1515/lingvan-2016-0025. [here]
  • Clayards, M., Wonnacott, E. (2013, October 25) A case study of childhood L2 learning of phonological contrasts. Poster presentation at the International Conference on Multilingualism, Montreal, QC. [Poster]
  • Brosseau-Lapré, F., Rvachew, S., Clayards, M., Dixon, D. (2013) Stimulus variability and perceptual learning of non-native vowel categories. Applied Psycholinguistics. 34 (3), 419-441 doi:10.1017/S0142716411000750
  • Clayards, M., Toscano, J. (2010, August) Modeling age of exposure in L2 learning of vowel categories. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Portland, OR. [Poster]

  • Plasticity across the lifespan

    When percieiving speech listeners are incredibly attuned to the patterns of speech around them, rapidly shifting their perception to account for differences in dialect, accent or other talker ideosyncracies. We are interested in the mechanisms that drive this plasticity, the cognitive factors that support it, and whether and how plasticity changes as we age.

  • Colby, S., Shiller, D., Clayards, M., Baum, S. (2019). Different Responses to Altered Auditory Feedback in Younger and Older Adults Reflect Differences in Lexical Bias. Special issue of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62 (4S), 1144-1151. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-H-ASCC7-18-0124 [pre print]
  • Colby, S., Clayards, M., Baum, S. (2018). The role of lexical ststus and individual differences for perceptual learning in younger and older adults. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research. 61(8), 1855–1874. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-S-17-0392 [pre print]
  • Kim, D., Clayards, M., Kong, E. (2017, December) Individual differences in perceptual adaptation to phonetic categories: Categorization gradiency and cognitive abilities. Poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America, New Orleans, LA. [Poster]
  • Schreiber, E., Onishi, K., Clayards, M. (2013) Manipulating phonological boundaries using distributional cues. Proceedings of Meeting on Acoustics (POMA), Vol. 19. 9 pages. doi:10.1121/1.4801082
  • Lindsay, S., Clayards, M., Gennari, S., Gaskell, G. (2010, September) Plasticity of phoneme categories in speech perception and production. Poster presented at Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing (AMLaP), York, UK. [Poster]
  • Clayards, M., Tanenhaus, M.K., Aslin, R.N., Jacobs, R.A., (2008) Perception of speech reflects optimal use of probabilistic speech cues. Cognition, 108(3), 804-809. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2008.04.004.

  • Individual variability in speech perception

    A growing body of research demonstrates that individuals differ from each other in how they perform on speech based tasks. We're interested in characterizing this variability and in trying to understand where it might come from. We've been comparing performance within individuals across different speech tasks as well as across speech and cognitive tasks

  • Kim, D., Clayards, M., & Kong, E. J. (2020). Individual differences in perceptual adaptation to unfamiliar phonetic categories. Journal of Phonetics, 81, 16p DOI:
  • Suh, C., Clayards, M., Otto, R., (2019) Inhibition Mediates Individual Differences in Top-Down Lexical Processing. Poster presented at the Young Female Researchers in Speech Workshop, Graz Austria [Poster]
  • Kim, D. & Clayards, M. (2019). Individual differences in plasticity in speech perception under cognitive load. Presented at the 5th International Conference on Cognitive Hearing Science for Communication. June 11. Linköping, Sweden. [Poster]
  • Kim, D., Clayards, M. (2019) Individual differences in the link between perception and production and the mechanisms of phonetic imitation. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34:6, 769-786. doi:10.1080/23273798.2019.1582787 [pre print]
  • Clayards, M. (2018) Differences in cue weights for speech perception are correlated for individuals within and across contrasts. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 144(3) doi:10.1121/1.5052025
  • Jiang, B., Clayards, M., Sonderegger, M. (2018, June) Perception and Individual variability of a Tonal Register Contrast in Chinese Wu dialects. Poster presentation at LabPhon16, Lisbon, Portugal. [Poster]
  • Colby, S., Poulton, V., Clayards, M. (2017, December) Inhibitory and lexical frequency effects in younger and older adults’ spoken word recognition. Poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America, New Orleans, LA. [Poster]
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