Professor Abby Cohn receives a Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Advising Award

Abby Cohn - Professor of Linguistics & a member of the Phonetics Laboratory - is one of four Cornell faculty members who received a 2018 Kendall S. Carpenter Memorial Advising Award. Quoting the Cornell Chronicle article announcing the award:


Abigail Cohn, professor in the Department of Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences, is described by her colleagues as an “endless source of wisdom and advice.” She was cited for her warmth and altruism. A Class of 2016 graduate wrote: “The strong personal bond she fostered did not fade with graduation. Even now as I am overseas, she has continued to advise me on all facets of the graduate school application process.” Another student recalled, “In our last meeting that summer, Abby (the only professor to allow me to use her first name) wrote a personal email to my mom, thanking her for the work I had done, saying such kind words about my character that my own mother nearly came to tears.”

The Kendall S. Carpenter Advising Award recognizes the sustained and distinguished contributions of professorial faculty and senior lecturers to undergraduate advising, and nominations are solicited annually from all members of the academic community. Nominees must be active contributors to college teaching and to their scholarly field, as appropriate to their appointments, and not have previously won the award.

Naomi Enzinna successfully defends her dissertation on Monolingual & BiLingual Speech Accomodation

Naomi Enzinna successfully defended her dissertation Automatic and social effects on accommodation in monolingual and bilingual speech, where she experimentally studied accommodation by English monolinguals and Spanish-English bilinguals from a majority monolingual community (Ithaca, NY) and a majority bilingual community (Miami, FL).

She determined that accommodation is both automatic and socially-modulated, but that socially-motivated accommodation is more persistent (i.e., longer-lasting) than accommodation that occurs due to automatic causes. This finding suggests that socially-motivated accommodation is more likely to lead to long-term accommodation and, thus, language change - such as the the unique "Miami English" dialect that inspired Naomi's studies.

Naomi is shown here with members of her thesis committee - from left to right: committee members Dr. Sam Tilsen, Dr. Abby Cohn, and Committee Chair Dr. Draga Zec. Dr. Marie Huffman of Stony Brook University - also a committee member - is not shown.

With her Cornell dissertation completed, Naomi is now a lecturer at Rice University's Program for Writing and Communication, where she will teach linguistics-inspired writing seminars.

Christina Bjorndahl successfully defends her dissertation on Voiced Spirants

Christina Bjorndahl successfully defended her dissertation A Story of /v/: Voiced Spirants in the Obstruent-Sonorant Divide. Christina studied the class of voiced spirants (the voiced, non-sibilant fricatives), with a special focus on [v], and specifically looked at how [v] and the remaining voiced spirants patterned phonetically, phonologically, and in terms of their distribution to consonant inventories with respect to the obstruent-sonorant divide. Christina's thesis committee consisted of Abby Cohn, Mats Rooth, and Committee Chair Draga Zec.

Having completed her studies at Cornell, Christina is now a Special Faculty member in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Philosophy.

Okki Kurniawan successfully defends his dissertation on Jakarta Indonesian

Ferdinand "Okki" Kurniawan successfully defended his dissertation
"Phonological variation in Jakarta Indonesian: an emerging variety of Indonesian".

Okki is shown here with members of his thesis committee - from left to right: committee members Dr. John Wolff and Dr. Draga Zec, Okki Kurniawan, and committee Chair Dr. Abby Cohn.

Phonetics grad student Robin Karlin successfully defends her dissertation on Tone Gesture Timing

Phonetics grad student Robin Karlin successfully defended her dissertation
"The timing of tone gestures and tone-bearing units: a cross-linguistic investigation".

Robin is shown here with members of her thesis committee - from left to right: External Committee member Elizabeth Zsiga (Georgetown University); committee chair Dr. Draga Zec, and committee members Dr. Abby Cohn and Dr. Mats Rooth. Robin has accepted a position at Rutgers University, where she will teach phonology.

Phonetics/Phonology grad students travel to Wisconsin, Myanmar, and Indonesia for training & field research

Three Phonetics/Phonology grad students traveled during summer 2018 for training and overseas linguistics fieldwork:

Phonetics/Phonology faculty & students present at Manchester and the SEAL Annual Meeting

Phonetics/Phonology researchers and graduate students were well traveled this Spring, with appearances in Taiwan and in England:

  • Grad students Dan Burgdorf and Sireemas Maspong traveled to Taiwan to present papers at the the 28th Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, which was held May 17-24, 2018 at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
  • The Phonetics lab was also well-represented at this year's Manchester Phonology Meeting, held May 24-26, 2018 in the city of Manchester, UK. Dr. Draga Zec gave a talk on "Loanword specific prosody as minimal constraint re-ranking", and the following three grad students presented posters on their research:
    • Rachel Vogel - "Maintenance of voicing and aspiration contrasts in Nepali stops"
    • Dan Burgdorf - "Productivity of minor syllables in Burmese"
    • Brynhildur Stefansdottir - "Approximant reduction in colloquial Icelandic"

The Phonetics Lab holds its annual Fall Outing at Taughannock Park

The Phonetics Lab held its annual Fall outing at Taughannock Park on October 15, 2017. The assembled adults and children hiked the South Rim Trail, which has many beautiful views of Taughannock Falls. The weather was sunny, warm, and absolutely perfect. Afterward everyone went to the Glenwood Pines for a lunch hosted by the P-Lab. It was a wonderful day for all, and we are fairly sure that the little ones didn't bring home any toads, bugs, or frogs to show their parents.

Phonetics grad student Hao Yi completes his PhD and heads to industry

Phonetics grad student Hao Yi completed his PhD this summer, where he successfully defended his dissertation "Lexical Tone Gestures", where he experimentally studied lexical f0 control in Mandarin within the framework of Articulatory Phonology.

The tired but happy Hao is shown here with members of his thesis committee - from left to right: Dr. Draga Zec, Hao's thesis advisor Dr. Sam Tilsen, and Dr. Abby Cohn.
Hao is now working as a Speech and Data Scientist at Nuance Communications, Inc. in Mahwah, New Jersey. At Nuance, he is using his knowledge of linguistics and statistics to improve speech applications for understanding human language.

The Linguistics Department Survives Eclipse!

The assembled Linguistics Department enjoyed the solar eclipse today - and no one was blinded.

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