My research focuses on the relationship between phonological categories and phonetic instantiation, and on the bridging of laboratory and field methodologies.

I’m especially interested in syllables: how segments are organized into syllables and how perceptual concerns might drive this organization; the effect of lexical and phrasal prominence on segments of the prominent syllable; and how much the production of the syllable as a unit can vary before it ceases to be considered a syllable.

I have two major ongoing projects, detailed below.


Since 2015 I have been working with the Mewun community in South West Bay (Malekula Vanuatu) and my UCSB colleague, Kevin Schaefer, on documenting and revitalizing the Ninde language.

A 12+ hour audio-video corpus of Ninde, collected in 2016, is available in the ELAR archive.

After the collection of the corpus materials our work has focused on producing materials for community use, including an in-progress dictionary, a collection of kastom stories (traditional narratives), a collection of hymns, and pedagogical materials for children and adult language learners.

I have published on the unique lateral contrast in Ninde, and have multiple ongoing projects relating to the documentation and analysis of Ninde phonetics and phonology.

Specifically, I’m currently investigating:

-the structure of VOT alternations, which is epsecially interesting since Ninde has no voicing contrasts at all

-the lexical prominence system; in this investigation I’m approaching the question both by measuring acoustic properties in citation-style speech and by identifying the locations of vowel reduction and deletion in more casual speech styles across the corpus

-the status of homoorganic nasal-stop sequences as either complex unary segments or clusters

Our ultimate scholarly goal for this project is the classic grammar-dictionary-texts trifecta.


My dissertation is an EMA study of Georgian syllable onsets. I systematically investigate the relationship between the sonority shape of a complex onset and various articulatory timing relationships between those consonants. Pilot results were published in the Speech Prosody 2020 proceedings, and a version can be found here.