Previous thesis students

Andy Gibson

Title:

Sociophonetics of popular music: insights from corpus analysis and speech perception experiments (2019)

Supervisors: 

  • Prof. Jen Hay (Senior), Dr Lynn Clark and Dr Catherine Theys (Associate)

Daiki Hashimoto

Title:

Loanword phonology in New Zealand English: exemplar activation and message predictability (2019)

Supervisors: 

  • Professor Beth Hume (Senior), Professor Jennifer Hay (Co-Supervisor), Professor Jeanette King (Associate)

Mohammed Dagamseh

Working title:

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

Supervisors: 

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

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.

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)

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.

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) 

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.

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)

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)

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)

Thesis summary:

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

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)

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.