Snoqualmie falls, Washington, USA
Photo: Sanobar Khotamova
I am Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore College. My Ph.D. is from the Linguistics and Central Eurasian Studies (CEUS) departments at Indiana University in Bloomington. I hold an M.A. in Central Eurasian Studies (2012) from IU, as well as an M.A. in Linguistics (2010) from the University of Washington in Seattle. I received my undergraduate degree in both linguistics and anthropology (2005) from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.
The focus of my work is Turkic languages, especially Kazakh and Kyrgyz. My research encompasses the subfields of phonology, phonetics, historical and socio-historical linguistics, symbolic computational linguistics, and language description and documentation. My doctoral dissertation was an ultrasound study of the articulatory correlates of the anteriority contrast in the vowels of three Turkic languages, and my Masters thesis examined sonority-based unfaithfulness across syllable boundaries in Turkic languages.
I'm an advocate for, user of, and contributor to Free / open source software. In particular, I'm involved in the Apertium community, which promotes certain types of computational resources for language communities which do not have the privilege of corporately developed resources.
- L303/L503 —
L303/L503 course website, summer 2012
- Ling 200 —
Ling 200 course website, summer 2007
Squibs / term papers, research papers, and presentations:
- "A free/open-source Kazakh-Tatar machine translation system" with Ilnar Salimzyanov and Francis Tyers (September 2013, MT Summit XIV)
[ paper: pdf (181kB) ] — 8 pages.
Presents our two-way Kazakh-Tatar machine translation system, including differences between the two languages and how they're dealt with, an evaluation, and directions for future work.
- "A finite-state morphological transducer for Kyrgyz" with Mirlan Ipasov and Francis Tyers (May 2012, 8th LREC)
[ paper: pdf (205kB) | also published in LREC proceedings | poster: pdf (2.6MB) ]
Describes the development of a free/open-source finite-state morphological transducer for Kyrgyz using Helsinki Finite-State Toolkit (HFST), including issues in Kyrgyz morphology, the development of the tool, some linguistic issues encountered and how they were dealt with, and which issues are left to resolve. An evaluation is presented which shows that the transducer has medium-level coverage, between 82% and 87% on two freely available corpora of Kyrgyz, and high precision and recall over a manually verified test set.
- "Insights on Coda Cluster Phonology in Kazakh and Kyrgyz from a Split-Margin Approach" (October 2009, CESS 10)
[ handout: pdf (163kB) ] — 8 pages.
Describes and compares the coda cluster phonology of Kazakh and Kyrgyz, uncovering previously undescribed nuances of the languages. A preliminary Split-Margin analysis and some attested irregular forms provide interesting insights into the history of coda cluster phonology in Turkic.
- "Historical Interactions among Turkic Groups Inferred through Constraint-based Linguistic Typology" (September 2008, CESS 09)
[ handout version: pdf (1.6MB) | slides: pdf (528kB) ] — 4 pages (handout) / 18 slides (slideshow).
Presents a framework for potentially working out historical fluxes in the contact between Turkic groups based on geograhic spreading of typological features related to sonority and syllable contact, identifiable in the phonologies of two dozen Turkic languages.
- "Phonetic and Phonological Problems in Kyrgyz: A Fulbrighter's plans for gathering data in the field" (August 2007)
[ handout version: pdf (9.3MB) | slides: pdf (9.6MB) ] — 20 slides (handout) / 91 frames (slideshow).
Provides background on the Kyrgyz language, particularly phonetics and phonology, and outlines specific issues for investigation in upcoming fieldwork. Presented to linguistics faculty and graduate students at Indiana University.
- "Theoretical linguistics meets Turkic languages: A unification of inter- and cross-linguistic patterns" (May 2007, Poppe 19)
[ handout version: pdf (110kB) | slides: pdf (557kB) ] — 18 slides (handout) / 114 frames (slideshow).
Presents phonological theory, Turkic languages, and examples of their interplay to a general academic audience in 20 minutes. Prepared for the 19th Annual Nicholas Poppe Symposium on Central/Inner Asian Studies as a presentation of work on my M.A. thesis.
- "Root Vowels and Affix Vowels: Height Effects in Kyrgyz Vowel Harmony" (December 2006)
[ pdf (132kB) ] — 20p.
A pilot acoustic study of Kyrgyz vowels, which notices significant differences between root and affix vowels, as well as effects of the height of root vowels on affix vowels when rounded.
- "An Investigation of Kyrgyz Rounding Harmony" (June 2006)
[ pdf (157kB) ] — 21p.
Looks at Kyrgyz rounding harmony in depth, discusses and problematises previous OT analyses, and calls for further phonetic research.
- "On the Epistemology of Relative Clause Constructions in Kazakh" (March 2006)
[ pdf (194kB) ] — 17p.
Attempts to present a clear and descriptively adequate depiction of relative clauses in Kazakh, and presents previous analyses as a starting point for further research.
- "Where Turkic stress falls: Challenging final-stress analyses in Kazakh and Kyrgyz" (March 2006)
[ pdf (284kB) ] — 14p.
Looks at Kazakh and Kyrgyz stress patterns, OT analyses of them, and calls for more in-depth phonetic research.
- "A Novel Approach to Delineating Kazakh's Five Present Tenses: Lexical Aspect" (January 2006, LSA 78)
[ paper draft: pdf (777kB) | LSA 2006 handout: pdf (757kB) ] — 10p. (paper, single-spaced) / 11p. (handout)
Continuation of my senior thesis investigation of aspectual strategies used with the present tense in Kazakh. Presented at the LSA in 2006.
What I do for fun; not entirely different from what I study: