Sireemas Maspong

Linguistics Ph.D. candidate
Cornell University


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Linguistics, Cornell University. I am also a member of the Cornell Phonetics Lab. I received my M.A. in Linguistics and B.A. in Thai from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
Here is my CV.


I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of language change using historical and experimental methods. I have been studying vowel quality changes in languages with tone/register. I mainly work on languages of Southeast Asia.
Recently, I have been working with colleagues on initial geminates in Pattani Malay. We are going to give a talk at PACLIC34.

Selected Publications

The secret life of Initial Geminates: Typology, evolutionary phonology, and phonetics
Francesco Burroni & Sireemas Maspong
Papers from the 24th International Conference on Historical Linguistics. to appear

Length contrast of high vowels in the Thai language of the Sukhothai period: What do the inscriptions say?
Sireemas Maspong & Pittayawat Pittayaporn
Cahier de Linguistique Asie Orientale 48(1), 30-60. 2019
[post-printed paper]

Length contrast in the Sukhothai vowel system
Sireemas Maspong
Papers from the Chulalongkorn International Student Symposium on Southeast Asian Linguistics 2017: JSEALS Special Publication No. 2 , 78-89. 2018
[ paper]

Selected Presentations

A new look at Pattani Malay Initial Geminates: a statistical and machine learning approach
Francesco Burroni, Sireemas Maspong, Pittayawat Pittayaporn, & Pimthip Kochaiyaphum
PACLIC34, Hanoi, Vietnam (virtual). to be presented (24-26 October 2020)

Interaction of initial geminates and stress: a case study of Pattani Malay
Sireemas Maspong, Francesco Burroni, Pimthip Kochaiyaphum, & Pittayawat Pittayaporn
LabPhon 17, Vancouver, Canada (virtual). 2020
[ poster] [ abstract] [ video]

Contrast Emergence, Preservation, and Loss: A case study of initial geminates
Francesco Burroni & Sireemas Maspong
ICHL 24, Canberra, Australia. 2019
[ slides] [ abstract]

The genetic relationship between Sukhothai and Ayutthaya
Pittayawat Pittayaporn, Sireemas Maspong, Shinnakrit Tangsiriwattanakul, & Yanyong Sikkharit
SEALS 28, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. 2018
[ slides] [ abstract]

Production and perception of marginal contrast: Length contrast of Thai mid vowels
Sireemas Maspong
SEALS 28, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. 2018
[slides] [abstract]


Vowel quality change in the Mon-Khmer languages

Interactions of vowel quality and onset voicing are found across a variety of Mon-Khmer languages. For example, in these languagues, vowels have lower F1 in the breathy register (derived from original voiced onsets in the proto-language) than their modal counterparts (derived from original voiceless onsets). Khmer is an example of a language that display this bifurcation.
My dissertation focuses on the question of how the vowel quality change arose. One part of this project is a historical study of the Khmer inscriptions and rhymes, while the other part is a phonetic study of other Mon-Khmer languages which show similar behaviors.

Initial geminates in Pattani Malay

Pattani Malay has been cited as a prime example of a language with moraic onsets, as initial geminates are reported to attract stress in this language. This project aims to answer two questions: (i) do initial geminates attract stress as reported in the literature? and (ii) does Pattani Malay have stress and if so, how does is the stress system best described?
I collaborate with colleagues at Cornell (Francesco Burroni) and Chulalongkorn University ( Pittayawat Pittayaporn, Pimthip Kochaiyaphum, Jakrabhop Iamdanush). We are presenting parts of the result at LabPhon17. Here are the poster and the abstract.

Moraic status of initial geminates and their diachronic developments

Initial geminates can be found in a variety of languages and language families. Interestingly, in some languages initial geminates are reported to play a role in weight computation or to be moraic, while in some others they are reported to be non-moraic. It has been argued that moraic initial geminates have a different phonological representation and perhaps phonetics implentation than non-moraic initial geminates. We, however, contend that that the moraic status of the initial geminates is better understood with referenced to their diachony.
For this project, I collaborate with Francesco Burroni. We presented the preliminary results in ICHL24. Here are the slides and the abstract. Currently, we are revising a manuscript from this talk for the proceeding of this conference.


Aside from the projects above, I am also interested in etymology. I sometimes write short squibs on the etymology of Thai words and post them on a facebook page.
At my house in Thailand, I have two white cats, who sometimes greet me via video call.
I just found out that I enjoy planting herbs and cooking what I have planted.