Karee Garvin



I am interested in understanding the role of articulatory timing in phonological patterning. My dissertation uses Electromagnetic Articulography (EMA) English data to explore how variability in coordination suggests variability in word medial syllabification driven by top-down pressures, like prosody, and bottom-up pressures, like place of articulation. I demonstrate that analyzing synchrony between jaw and segmental articulation elucidates this variability. I also explore differences in the production of word medial consonants and word initial consonants and the implications of these differences for lenition. [Dissertation]

More broadly, I am interested in how rhythm and articulatory timing pattern across languages and how they shape phonological patterns we see across languages. I am interested in modeling these patterns in theories of phonological grammar, like OT, to explore how perception-based constraints and production-based constraints interact to produce information-theory like biases in typological patterns.



I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Delaware working with Katie Franich on the NSF funded grant "Speech and Communicative Timing Across Languages and Linguistic Contexts." The project explores rhythm and gesture in English and Cameroonian languages (Medʉmba and Babanki), with data collection in the US and in Cameroon. We are exploring the alignment of iconic, deictic, and beat gestures and how they align with linguistic content. In addition, we are exploring how speakers vary in rhythm and speech rate and how they time turn taking in a conversational context as well as how these aspects vary across languages.

In addition to analyzing co-speech gestures, we also plan to analyze speech gestures, like jaw oscillation, to analyze how articulatory and co-speech gestures align.

I have worked in Banda Ahenkro for the past 2 years with community members on Nafaanra. My time in Banda has yielded a number of projects, including a syntactic analysis of word order in progressives [PDF] and a diachronic analyses of color naming. [Cogsci][bioRxiv]

I am currently working on an acoustic analysis of timing differences between complex segments and complex clusters and analyzing how constraints on jaw movement determine differences in complex segments and complex clusters in Nafaanra. Additionally, data from this fieldwork is archived and accessioned in the California Languages Archive.


STAMP stands for Subject Tense Aspect Mood Polarity and portmanteau STAMP morphs combing features of subject pronouns, and TAMP features are common in the Macro-Sudan belt. For example, in Nafaanra: ni 1.sg.ipfv, mba 1.sg.pst, mbaa 1.sg.pst.prog.

Along with colleagues Hannah Sande and Katie Russell, we have been working to conduct a typological survey of languages in the area and understand what theoretical mechanisms can account for this phenomenon. Get in touch if you work on a language in the Macro-Sudan belt and want to contribute to our survey!

Q Theory seeks to provide a fine-grained phonological representation that has the power to interface between phonetics and phonology. While by default each Q (segment) has 3 subsegments, we have been exploring the ways in which a segment may have greater or fewer than three segments in cases such as gemination and excrescent segments. [PDF], [PDF]

In addition, we explore q-theoretic representations of vowel strength to show how vowel strength is independent of traditional binary accounts of strength such a underlying status and moraic structure. [PDF]

This project is in collaboration with colleagues Sharon Inkelas, Myriam Lapierre, and Martha Schwarz.

This study investigates the phonological encoding through exploring reaction times to repeated phonemes. In the study, we test stimuli with repeated phonemes /p, b, g, r/ in adjective noun pairs with repeated phonemes in initial-initial pairs, initial-final pairs, and non-overlapping pairs. We find a significant facilitating response time effect in initial-initial pairs, but in the initial-final pairs, we find no significant effect across phonemes and a high degree of variation across phones. These results cannot be accounted for by a purely abstract model of phonological encoding. We posit that this pattern is consistent with a model of phonological encoding which relies on fine-grained representations of phones, such as gestures, features, or subsegments, where different gestures or features may have different degrees priming strength (with colleague Eric Wilbanks) [LabPhon 2020 Slides].

We began working with the Oakland diasporic Mam speaking community in Field Methods, Fall 2017 with a speaker of San Juan Atitan Mam. I continued to work with community members in Oakland through 2019 along with my colleague Tessa Scott and continue to work on data collected during that time.

In particular, I am interested in timing of consonant clusters in stressed and unstressed syllables and its effect on vowel deletion. With colleagues Tessa Scott and Myriam Lapierre, we analyze the role of morphology in determining the realization of clusters and contour segments and provide a q-theoretic account of the data. [CILLA 2019 Slides]