5 Minute Linguist Competition Video

See below for the recording for the 5 Minute Linguist (5ML) competition, emceed by John McWhorter, at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting in New York City. The aim of the competition to communicate a research project to a general audience in just 5 minutes (and with no notes!). 

We are thrilled that two talks selected as finalists were from our lab!
Talk 1 (0:00 – 8:22)
Michelle Cohn
 (University of California, Davis): Phonologically motivated phonetic repair strategies in Siri- and human-directed speech

Talk 2 (9:45 – 15:43) 
Bruno Ferenc Segedin
 (University of California, Davis) & Georgia Zellou (University of California, Davis): Lexical frequency mediates compensation for coarticulation: Are the seeds of sound change word-specific?

Congratulations to the other presenters, as well!

  • Andrew Cheng (University of California, Berkeley): Style-shifting, Bilingualism, and the Koreatown Accent
  • Kristin Denlinger (University of Texas, Austin) & Michael Everdell (University of Texas, Austin): A Mereological Approach to Reduplicated Resultatives in O’dam
  • Jessi Grieser (University of Tennessee): Talking Place, Speaking Race: Topic-based style shifting in African American Language as an expression of place identity
  • Kate Mesh (University of Haifa): Gaze decouples from pointing as a result of grammaticalization: Evidence from Israeli Sign Language
  • Jennifer Schechter (University at Buffalo): What Donald Trump’s ‘thoughts’ reveal: An acoustic analysis of 45’s coffee vowel
  • Ai Taniguchi (Carleton University): Why we say stuff

Finalists for 5 Minute Linguist!

We were thrilled to learn that two talks from our lab have been selected as finalists to compete in the 5 Minute Linguist (ML) competition at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) meeting in 2019.

  • Phonologically motivated phonetic repair strategies in Siri- and human- directed speech​. Presenter: Michelle Cohn 
  • Lexical frequency mediates compensation for coarticulation: Are the seeds of sound change word-specific? Presenters: Bruno Ferenc Segedin & Georgia Zellou.
Click here to see the official finalist announcement: 
​ www.linguisticsociety.org/news/2018/09/24/2019-five-minute-linguist-finalists-announced

“The Five-Minute Linguist is a high-profile event which features eight LSA members giving lively and engaging presentations about their research in a manner accessible to the general public….These five-minute presentations will be judged by a panel of journalists as well as the audience itself, and a winner will be chosen at the end of the event.​ The goal of this event is to encourage LSA members to practice presenting their work to a broad audience and to showcase outstanding examples of members who can explain their research in an accessible way.”[www.linguisticsociety.org/content/five-minute-linguist-2019]   

Como Summer School on Music, Language, and Cognition (MLCS)


This past June I had the opportunity to attend the first inaugural Como Summer School on Music, Language, and Cognition (MLCS) held in Como, Italy. As someone working at the intersection of language/music perception—a growing field of research— this was an excellent opportunity to work closely with 32 other graduate and postdoctoral researchers from a range of international institutions, as well as hear 11 presentations by experts in these fields including: Ani Patel (Tufts University: neuroscience of language/music) , Ian Cross (Cambridge: musicology, musicality), Jessica Grahn (Western University: neuroscience of rhythm, therapeutic effects of music on Parkinson’s patients), Tecumseh Fitch (University of Vienna: biological foundations of music & language), Tom Fritz (Max Plank Institute: cross-cultural comparisons of music, biological effects of music on cognition and reward systems), and Alice Mado Proverbio (University of Milano-Bicocca: neuroscience of language/music).


In addition to faculty presentations and engaging group discussions, all students gave a short presentation of their own research. I was amazed at the range of subfields in which graduate students/postdocs were exploring language, music, or a combination of both.

For example, Sinead Rocha, a doctoral student at UCL, found that infants’ production of spontaneous rhythmic patterns may be related to the height and walking rate of their parents (based on their time in utero and being carried).

In looking at the intersection of language & music, Giuliana Genovese, a graduate student at the University of Milano-Bicocca, found that infants better learned new phonemic contrasts through song vs. through speech.

Overall, the experience was quite enriching — particularly in the close collaboration with graduate students and faculty from a diverse range of disciplines — and I look forward to seeing them again at future programs/conferences.