Prosody in the Lab

Instructor(s): Michael Wagner

You will learn how to test hypotheses about speech prosody in the lab. The focus is on learning by doing: You will design and carry out your own experiments (alone or in groups), and will learn some basics about how to evaluate them. The class projects will revolve around prosody. Prosody forms part of phonology, but often encodes syntax (e.g., via prosodic phrasing) or semantics/pragmatics (e.g., focus and topic structure, pragmatics of intonational tunes). There will be a broad range of projects from different domains you can choose from--or advanced students may want to come up with one of their own. So rather than covering the topic in breadth, this class encourages you to look at a very tightly circumscribed question that can be experimentally answered, and learn about prosody in general by studying something very particular. The class will make use of an experimental software developed in our lab that makes it easy to collect production data and automatically annotate them, and can also run simple perception experiments.

The course will require some general computer savviness, but mostly it will require a lot of enthusiasm and ability to work with some independence (jointly with others) on a class project. Some background in quantitative methods would help but is not required.