Dr Clara Cohen

  • Lecturer in English Language & Linguistics (English Language and Linguistics)

Research interests

Although I started studying quite traditional generative linguistics (I still have a quiet fondness for clever phonological rule-ordering examples and elegant phrase-structure trees), my interests now tilt more and more towards experimental investigations into language processing, and computational explorations of corpus data. Shiny new toys delight me, and I am happiest when I am experimenting with a new programming language to analyze different types of corpus data, a new eye-tracker lab, a new way of doing growth-curve analysis, a Bayesian approach to statistics, or a fancy ERP cap, with gel and electrodes and blinking lights.

 In order to fight the danger of distracting myself from my work with all these shiny toys, I use the results of my experiments as converging evidence from many different data sources, united in pursuit of a larger question: How do details of pronunciation illuminate patterns in lexical storage and retrieval, and how do morphologically related words interact with each other as we produce and perceive spoken language? My dissertation and follow-up projects explored how the pronunciation of inflected verbs was influenced by different types of syntactic and morphological probability in English and Russian. My postdoctoral work turned to nouns, where I examined how listeners’ language experience affects the types of pronunciation patterns they draw on during online speech perception. Other projects include an exploration of the role of functional load and auditory confusability in the development of the English lexicon over time (with Shinae Kang), and an expansion of the Gradient Symbolic Computation framework to word order and code-switching in English-Dutch bilinguals (with Lara Schwartz, Mike Putnam, Janet van Hell, and Sarah Grey).

 


Publications

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