Dan Cameron Burgdorf, a young white person with long brown hair and glasses, wearing a dark pink shirt and tan corduroy jacket

Dan Cameron Burgdorf

Cornell University

ze/zim/zer or they/them/their

In August 2022, I earned my Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University, where I was a member of the Cornell Phonetics Lab. I primarily work with English and Burmese, phonetics and phonology, and also have interests in computational and psycholinguistics and Native American languages. I earned my B.A. in Linguistics and B.S. in Physics at the University of Iowa, and my M.A. in Linguistics here at Cornell. You can see my full CV here.

Current Projects

several line plots

The Consonant/Vowel Distinction

My dissertation examined glides as a source of insight on the fundamental differences between consonants and vowels, combining data from several experiments and proposing a new way of modeling vowels in the framework of Articulatory Phonology. I'm currently pursuing some follow-up work on this. My committee consisted of Sam Tilsen, Abby Cohn, and Draga Zec.

an articulatory trajectory and its fourth derivative

Activation Noise

I've uncovered what I call activation noise, characteristic activity in high-order derivatives of articulatory trajectories that accompanies gesture onsets. I originally observed this in EMA data and recently replicated it in x-ray microbeam data, confirming that it is a general articulatory phenomenon and not an artifact of a particular technology. I'm currently refining methods for using activation noise to identify and characterize gesture onsets and offsets in much richer detail than is possible with velocity landmarks.

Burmese Tones

My work on Burmese focuses on the tones and the minor syllables, and what they can reveal about the underlying phonological structure. I spent the summer of 2018 collecting data in Myanmar, and I've found evidence of a weight distinction across tones that has intriguing implications for the minor syllables.

Gayogo̱hó:nǫ⁷ Website

In collaboration with others, I've been building a website to share materials from Cornell's Gayogo̱hó:nǫ⁷ (Cayuga) Language and Culture classes.



Burgdorf, Dan Cameron & Sam Tilsen. 2021. “Temporal differences between high vowels and glides are more robust than spatial differences.Journal of Phonetics. 88: 101073.

Burgdorf, Dan Cameron. 2020. “Reduction in Burmese compounds.Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. 13(1): 129-159.

Conference Proceedings & Qualifying Papers

Burgdorf, Dan Cameron. 2022. “The Consonant/Vowel Distinction: A Cognitive Difference Evidenced by Glides.” Dissertation, Cornell University.

Burgdorf, Dan Cameron. 2021. “Identifying gesture onsets with high-order derivatives of articulatory trajectories.” Proceedings of Acoustics Virtually Everywhere, the 179th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). Virtual, December 2020.

Burgdorf, Dan Cameron & Sam Tilsen. 2021. “Compensation for altered feedback in vowels and glides.” Proceedings of the 12th International Seminar on Speech Production (ISSP). Virtual, December 2020.

Burgdorf, Dan Cameron. 2021. “Burmese moraic structure.” Proceedings of the CLS 56 (2020). 67-79.

Burgdorf, Dan Cameron. 2018. “Burmese moraic and prosodic structure.” M.A. qualifying paper, Cornell University.



“Glides prioritize articulation, vowels prioritize acoustics.” LSA 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.

“Productivity of minor syllables in Burmese.” 28th Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. Kaohsiung, Taiwan, May 2018.

“Asymmetry of glides in Shan.” 27th Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. Padang, Indonesia, May 2017.

Selected Posters

“Compensation for Altered Feedback in Vowels and Glides.” Berkeley Linguistics Soceity Workshop 2020. Berkeley, California, USA, February 2020.

“Productivity of Minor Syllables in Burmese.” 26th Manchester Phonology Meeting. Machester, UK, May 2018.

“Articulatory Differences Between Glides and Vowels.” Acoustics '17 Boston, the third joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association. Boston, Massachusetts, USA, June 2017.


Fall 2021 & Fall 2016, graduate student instructor, “How to Build a Language (First-Year Writing Seminar).” Cornell University.

Spring 2018, teaching assistant, “Psychology of Language.” Cornell University.

Fall 2017, teaching assistant, “Introduction to Linguistics.” Cornell University.

Spring 2017, teaching assistant, “Introduction to Cognitive Science.” Cornell University.


2017-2019, editor of CWP3 (Cornell Working Papers in Phonetics and Phonology).

2016-2017, president of Ph2 (Phonetics & Phonology) Reading Group, Cornell University.

2016-2017, senior editor of SALT 27 (Semantics and Linguistic Theory).

Summer 2016, LabPhon 15 graduate student volunteer.

2015-2016, junior editor of SALT 26 (Semantics and Linguistic Theory).

More About Me

digital artwork made from a waveform of 'Black Lives Matter,' in gold, teal, brown, and black

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and got into linguistics by fortuitous accident after starting off my academic career with a dual-major in physics and chemistry. I still have a soft spot for physics and certain branches of mathematics. More recently, I've been teaching myself web development.

In my free time, I enjoy painting, making art out of waveforms, baking, cycling, and writing fiction. My first short story was published (under a pen name) in March 2022.


I'm fine with most gender-neutral pronouns, so if there's a set you already know (like singular “they”), feel free to use those. All else equal, though, I prefer ze/zim/zer.

ze ~ she/he/they
zim ~ her/him/them
zer ~ her/his/their
zers ~ hers/his/theirs
zimself ~ herself/himself/themself


Email: dcb275@cornell.edu

© Dan Cameron Burgdorf
Last updated September 2022