PhD students' research profiles

Khalid Aljawazneh

Working title: 

Production and Perception of Non-Native Initial and Final Consonant Clusters by Jordanian Arabic Speakers

Supervisors:

  • Beth Hume (Primary)
  • Lynn Clark (Secondary)

Contact details:

khalid.aljawazneh@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 213, Locke Building

Thesis summary:

The study will investigate, through perceptual and production experiments, how consonant clusters of different qualities and in different word positions could contribute to predicting the general learner’s behaviour and preferences. Special attention will be given to where epenthesis could or could not occur with regard to the different phonological environments. It mainly focuses on the way native speakers of Jordanian Arabic produce and perceive initial and final consonant clusters that are illicit to their mother tongue. The main argument in this study is that L2 production and perception of onset and coda consonant clusters by JA speakers varies in difficulty from one cluster to another according to the phonetic and acoustic properties of the cluster and its position in the word.

The study also explores whether there is a bias in relation to production and perception towards inserting an epenthetic vowel before, within or after the consonant cluster, and the extent to which each of these points depends on the type of the cluster and the position of the word in relation to phrase in continual and non-continual speech. It also shows a principled hierarchal order of difficulty in JA speaker’s production and perceptual ability according to the phonotactics of their L1. Scientific and practical implications will be discussed based on phonological and cognitive findings.

Mohammed Dagamseh

Working title:

Language maintenance, Shift and Variation among Arabic Jordanian Immigrants in Christchurch/ New Zealand

Supervisors: 

  • Kevin Watson (Primary)
  • Jeanette King (Secondary)

Contact details:

mohammed.dagamseh@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 212, Locke Building

Thesis summary:

My project examines the process of language maintenance and shift within Arabic Jordanian speaking immigrants in Christchurch, by investigating language use in different contexts, attitudes of the speakers towards both their native language (Arabic) and the host language (English), and the speakers’ production of the majority language (English). This study also reports on an experiment designed to examine the degree to which exposure to different types of auditors (Arabic and NZ English) can influence production. As such, the project will combine work on language maintenance and shift with work on language variation and change. The data of this study will be gathered through a structured questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, experiments (reading minimal pairs and sentences) and recordings. After that, they will be analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.

Ahmad S. Haider

  • 2010: MA in Linguistics (The University of Jordan, Jordan)
  • 2008: BA in English Language and Literature (The University of Jordan, Jordan)

Working title:

Corpus Based Critical Discourse Analysis of “Arab Spring” in Media

Supervisor:

  • Dr Kevin Watson (Linguistics) (Primary)
  • Donald Matheson (Media and Communication) (Co-supervisor) 

Contact details: 

ahmad.haider@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 212, Locke Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext 3527
Internal Phone: 3527

Thesis summary:

The Arab Spring, a period of revolutions and protests that began in December, 2010, is considered to be one of the most important events that affected the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This topic has been discussed by some scholars and commentators from different points of view; politically, economically, socially, and linguistically. To the best of my knowledge, however, few studies combined both Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Corpus Linguistics (CL) in order to carry out a thorough investigation of the way that this era of protests and demonstrations was socially, discursively, and linguistically represented by the media. My research examines the process of news making, the role of ideology, the history of Arabs regimes, and the types of relationships between Arab people and their regimes. It aims to combine CDA approaches and assumptions with the analytical frameworks of CL to analyse the discursive representation of Arab revolutions in general, and the Libyan uprisings in particular, in national pan-Arab, and international western newspapers. In addition to that, I intend to study the Qaddafis’ speeches (i.e. the former Libyan president Muammar and his son Saif-islam) during the era of the Libyan uprisings. By doing so, I will analyse the discursive strategies of two genres, which have some differences and similarities.

Matthias Heyne

  • Staatsexamen 2012, Saarland University & University of Music Saar – High School Teaching: Music, English & Pedagogy (Staatsexamen Thesis “The interaction of musicians in rehearsals” (Saarland University, 2011)
  • Diplom 2012, University of Music Saar – Music Teacher: Jazz Trombone
  • Diplom 2010, University of Music Saar – Orchestral Music: Bass Trombone

Working title:

The Influence of First Language on playing Brass Instruments.

Supervisors:

  • Prof. Dr Jennifer Hay (Supervisor)
  • Dr Donald Derrick (NZILBB) (Co-supervisor)

Contact: 

matthias.heyne@pg.canterbury.ac.nz

Thesis summary:

This research examines whether First Language phonetics and phonology influence the playing of brass instruments. Drawing upon personal experience as a trombone player (and as many fellow brass players have assured me), there seem to be notable differences observable in the style of playing which seem to correspond to the players’ language backgrounds. Potential differences in playing styles may be due to differences in the consonant systems of languages (voicing, aspiration, glottalization), as well as vowel systems. In Australian and New Zealand English, for example, the general raising of front vowels may lead to an elevated tongue position which will affect the brightness of sound.

For the main part of my research, I am using ultrasound imaging to empirically investigate the tongue positioning and movement of a small number of ideally monolingual brass players from different language groups. Research participants are recorded both while speaking and playing, enabling me to relate phenomena observed in speaking to tongue movement while playing a brass instrument. To avoid the influence of external variables, a number of factors have to be controlled including, but not limited to, the type of brass instrument, instrument design (bore, taper, material) and mouthpiece size. In the final step, all data will be analyzed, possibly leading to further analysis regarding selected consonants, tonguing techniques etc.

Dan Jiao

  • 2010-2013 MA Chinese Language and Literature, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • 2006-2010 BA Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, Xuzhou Normal University, China

Working title:

Non-canonical uses of personal pronouns in modern Chinese and New Zealand English

Supervisor:

  • Heidi Quinn (Primary)

Contact details: 

dan.jiao@pg.canterbury.ac.nz

Thesis summary:

The aim of this research is to examine the flexible usage of personal pronouns in modern Chinese. Firstly, I will conclude the sub-categories of the flexible usage of personal pronouns by sorting and classifying corpus. Secondly, I will find out the mechanism behind the interchanges between personal pronouns, probably will explain the phenomenon from cognitive and pragmatic perspectives. On the other hand, I will make a comparison in the flexible usage of personal pronouns between Chinese and English, which is also an important part of my research.

Ryan G. Podlubny

  • BA Honors (First Class): Experimental Phonetics, University of Alberta (Canada), 2013
  • MSc: Experimental Phonetics, University of Alberta (Canada), 2014

Working title:

A cross-dialectal exploration of cue weighting in speech perception and production: Contrasting western Canadian English and New Zealand Pākehā English

Supervisors:

  • Dr Jennifer Hay (Primary)
  • TBD (Co-supervisor)

Contact: 

ryan.podlubny@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext 8862
Room 214, Locke building
https://podlubny.wordpress.com

Thesis summary:

My work explores the roles of low level acoustic information within the speech signal from both productive and perceptual standpoints. Specifically, I am interested not only in how listeners weight sub-phonemic cues with regard to informativity, but also in how these weightings may persist (or change) across native language and dialect groups. As a result this work serves somewhat as a bridge between production and perception, utilizing methodologies that consider the degree to which studies in one area may inform work in the other.

Darcy Rose

  • MA, Linguistics. Indiana University. 2013.
  • BA, Linguistics with French minor. Dartmouth College. 2009.

Working title:

Effects of morphological predictability on the acoustics of short morphemes

Supervisors:

  • Beth Hume (Primary)
  • Jennifer Hay (Co-supervisor)

Contact details:

darcy.rose@pg.canterbury.ac.nz

Thesis summary:

This research examines the effects of morphological predictability on the phonetic realization of short morphemes.

Mineko Shirakawa

  • MA with First Class Honours in Linguistics (University of Canterbury)
  • GradDip in Arts with Distinction (Lingistics) (University of Canterbury)
  • LLB (Waseda University, Japan)

Working title:

The impact of language internal and external factors on simultaneous bilingual acquisition of Japanese in Japanese-Brazilian Portuguese bilingual children

Primary supervisor:

  • Dr Heidi Quinn (Primary)
  • Dr Susan Foster-Cohen (Co-supervisor)
  • Dr Masayoshi Ogino (Associate supervisor)

Contact details:

mineko.shirakawa@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 209, Locke Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987, ext 7520
Internal Phone: 7520

Thesis summary

My research interest is in bilingual first language acquisition. More than half of the world's population is reckoned to be bilingual. Generative grammar postulates that children are equipped to acquire any human languages which they have been sufficiently exposed to from birth. When there are two distinct languages in the input from birth, both languages are considered to be acquired as first languages. In fact, however, “balanced” bilingualism may be the exception. One language will typically be stronger, and the bilingual child will tend to prefer one of the languages. Language preferences may change repeatedly over the life time of a bilingual speaker.

I investigate the impact of three linguistic factors on simultaneous bilingual acquisition: parental attitudes towards bilingualism, quantity and quality of input, and cross-linguistic influence, and I try to identify whether there are any differences between monolingual and bilingual children in terms of morphological case marking acquisition of Japanese. My study focuses on Japanese-Brazilian Portuguese bilingual children living in Japan and uses four methods of data collection: a questionnaire, recording spontaneous language samples, structured interviews, and structured data elicitation.

Publications:

  • Shirakawa, M. (2014). How Japanese-English bilingual children process morphological case markings in the head-final language under the influence of the head-initial language. Harvard University, Cambridge, USA: International Workshop on Children's Acquisition and Processing of Head-Final Languages, 5 November 2014. (Conference Contribution - Poster presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2013). Experimental study of morphological case marking knowledge in Japanese-English bilingual children. Singapore: The 9th International Symposium on Bilingualism, 10-13 Jun 2013. (Conference Contribution - Paper presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2013). Simultaneous bilingual first language acquisition: A case study of English-Japanese bilingual children in Christchurch. Working papers from NWAV Asia-Pacific 2. Retrievable from http://www.ninjal.ac.jp/socioling/nwavap02/working-papers.html
  • Shirakawa, M. (2012). Experimental study of morphological case marking patterns in Japanese-English bilingual children. Auckland, New Zealand: The 13th Language and Society Conference, 27-28 Nov 2012. (Conference Contribution - Paper presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2012). Bilingual first language acquisition: A case study of English-Japanese bilingual children in Christchurch. Tokyo, Japan: The 2nd annual meeting of New Ways of Analyzing Variation and Change in the Asia-Pacific Region, 1-4 Aug 2012. (Conference Contribution - Poster presentation)
  • Shirakawa, M. (2012). Bilingual first language acquisition: A case study of English-Japanese bilingual children in Christchurch. Auckland, New Zealand: The 2nd Auckland Postgraduate Conference on Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, 30 Jun 2012. (Conference Contribution - Paper presentation)
  • Connell, T., Rennell, E., Shirakawa, M. and Quinn, H. (2011). A case for Voice. Wellington, New Zealand: The Linguistics Society of New Zealand 19th Biennial Conference, 17-18 Nov 2011. (Conference Contribution - Poster presentation)

Keyi Sun

  • 2009 BA (Hon) in Linguistics (Canterbury, New Zealand)

Working title:

Language embodiment and language in body movement: testing temporal metaphor across different language speakers.

Supervisors:

  • Jen Hay (Primary)
  • Lucy Johnston (Co-supervisor)

Contact details:

keyi.sun@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 209, Locke Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext 7520
Internal Phone: 7520

Thesis summary

Languages are not only different regarding their structures such as syntax and phonology; however, based on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, it is believed that our fundamental understanding of the world is shaped by the languages we speak. In my research, I study the fundamental concept of the relationship between time and space: temporal metaphor. The correlation between time and space give time its unique property: time can have dimensions and time can have directions. Human languages describe time in similar ways, but the difference is that some languages choose certain dimensions and directions and other languages choose other ways. In the current study, I argue that:

The fundamental understanding of abstract concept such as time can be learned through learning another language by examining bilingual speakers.
Time’s similar property to space gives time spatial meanings, which can be found in human body movement.
The study will make contribution to the language-concept transfer theory and language embodiment theory. It also will provide us with the new idea of methodology by using modern technology such as body motion tracking system, GPS satellite tracking device and touchpad computer in experimental psycholinguistics.

Xuan Wang

  • 2009 BA in English Language and Literature, Beijing Language and Culture University, China
  • 2013 MA in Linguistics, Beijing Language and Culture University, China

Working Title:

A Sociophonetic Account of L-words in Chinese Jin Dialect

Supervisor:

  • Dr. Kevin Watson (Primary)

Contact details: 

xuan.wang@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Room 213, Locke Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext. 8864

Thesis summary:

A controversial question in sociolinguistic research has been whether social factors like identity are important in the sort of dialect contact which leads to new dialect formation. Existing work has considered this question by looking at dialect contact situations in Europe, America and New Zealand, among others. My PhD project aims to explore the role of identity during the formation of a dialect in Hohhot, an immigrant city in China.

The major two dialects spoken in Hohhot are Jin dialect and Mandarin Chinese. The Mandarin spoken there is not the standard one, but rather a dialect (or a mixture) between Jin dialect and standard Mandarin. To signal this difference, we often refer to the label “Hohhot Mandarin” – a variety which adopts quite a few linguistic features from Jin dialect. Among those that are adopted, I will focus on “L-words”. Whether identity plays a role or not in the formation of Hohhot Mandarin will be examined through a fieldwork-based analysis of the variation and change of L-words. As well as this, the project will also look at the origin and changing processes of L-words, and in particular how L-words are influenced by both external and internal linguistic factors.