Phil Howson

Phil Howson profile picture
  • Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Office: 1600 Millrace Dr., Ste. 360 (Rm 383)
  • Office Hours: WINTER Mondays 2-4PM and By Appt.
  • Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

My research program incorporates both low-level phonetic details and high-level perceptual processes to get out how phonological systems are formed. Thus, my research methodology takes two different, but connected approaches: (1) how does speech production and phonetic variation conditions phonological processes? and (2) how does speech perception govern phonological systems?

To answer the first question, I most frequently make use of acoustic and ultrasound data to examine phonetic variation and different factors, such as positional effects, that influence phonological processes. A good example of this, is a current project on lateral vocalization in Brazilian Portuguese I'm working on with Dr. Marzena Żygis. Lateral vocalization most commonly takes places in the coda position. Phonetically, in the coda position, additional tongue body retraction takes place to correctly phase the vocalic tongue body gestures together. The result is reduced tongue tip contact at the alveolar ridge, which, over time can cause the loss of the tongue tip gesture completely.

To answer the second question, I make use of both acoustic and perceptual data. I use this data to examine how human perception influences phonological inventories and processes. For example, I am currently looking the cross-linguistic perception of liquids with Dr. Jessamyn Schertz and Dr. M. Irfana. An identification task was performed for Hindi, English, Malayalam, and Mandarin listeners. Each participant heard a stimuli set created by manipulating F2 and F3 of an intervocalic rhotic. The cross-linguistic data shows a tremendous tendency to hear rhotics and laterals in the same formant space and sugests a cross-linguistic similarity in the acoustic-perceptual space for liquids as a whole. This data might suggest why rhotics and laterals, although very different, often pattern together.

I also have general interests in Slavic languages, endangered languages, computational modelling of the vocal tract, and neurolinguistics.

Publications

Peer Reviewed Articles

Howson, P. J. & Monahan, P. J. (accepted). Perceptual motivation for the rhotics as a class. Speech Communication.

Howson, P. J. & Monahan, P. J. (accepted). A method for comparing distances and areas with multidimensional scaling. MethodsX.

Howson, P. (2018). Palatalization and rhotics: an acoustic examination of Sorbian. Phonetica 75(2), 132-150.

Howson, P. (2017). Upper Sorbian. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28, 1-9.

Howson, P., Kochetov, A., & Van Lieshout, P. (2015). Examination of the grooving patterns of the Czech trill-fricative. Journal of Phonetics 49, 117-129.

Howson, P., Komova, E., & Gick, B. (2014). Czech trills revisited: An ultrasound, EGG and acoustic study. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 44(2), 115-132.

Peer Reviewed Articles in Preparation

Howson, P. J. & Żygis, M. (submitted). Lateral vocalization in Brazilian Portuguese: lenition can trigger sound change. Laboratory Phonology.

Howson, P. J. & Kochetov, A. (resubmitted). Uvular rhotics involve a tongue root gesture: evidence from Upper Sorbian. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Howson, P. J. & Monahan, P. J. (resubmitted). Pressure in crowded perceptual spaces can cause adaptive dispersion: Evidence from Czech listeners perception of Czech and Polish sibilants. Laboratory Phonology.

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters

Howson, P. & Komova, E. (2015). Simplifying the complexity of speech: an argument for a phonetic basis to sound change. In Skarnitzl, R. & Niebuhr, O. (eds.), Tackling the Complexity of Speech, pp. 123-134. Prague: Charles University.

Howson, P. & Monahan, P. J. (2015). Simple phonological contrasts causing complex phonetic differences. In Skarnitzl, R. & Niebuhr, O. (eds.), Tackling the Complexity of Speech, pp. 113-122. Prague: Charles University.

Conference Proceedings

* = peer-reviewed

Howson, P. & Redford, M. A. (2019). Listener preference is for reduced determiners that anticipate the following noun, pp. 1-5. International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Melbourne, Australia.*

Howson, P. & Redford, M. A. (2019). Liquid coarticulation in child and adult speech, pp. 1-5. International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Melbourne, Australia.*

Howson, P. & Kochetov, A. (2018). Gestural lenition of rhotics captures variation in Brazilian Portuguese, pp. 1-5. Interspeech 2018. Hyderabad, India.*

Howson, P. & Kochetov, A. (2016). An acoustic examination of laterals in Lower Sorbian, pp. 1-10. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics 28, 060002.

Howson, P. (2015). An acoustic examination of the three-way sibilant contrast in Lower Sorbian, pp. 2670-2674. Interspeech 2015. Dresden, Germany.*

Kochetov, A. & Howson, P. (2015). On the incompatibility of trilling and palatalization: a single-subject study of sustained apical and uvular trills, pp. 2187-2191. Interspeech 2015. Dresden, Germany.*

Howson, P. & Kochetov, A. (2015). An EMA examination of liquids in Czech, pp. 1-4. International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, Scotland.*

Yamane, N., Howson, P., & Po-Chun, W. (2015). An ultrasound examination of taps in Japanese, pp. 1-4. International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, Scotland.*

Howson, P. & Kochetov, A. (2014). Electropalatography examination of groove width in Russian, pp 1-7. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics 20, 060007.

Howson, P. & Kochetov, A. (2014). An EMA investigation of the Czech alveolar and post-alveolar fricatives, pp. 210-213. In Fuchs, S., Grice, M., Hermes, A., Lancia, L., & Mücke, D. (eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Seminar on Speech Production.*

Howson, P., Neufeld, C., & Kochetov, A. (2013). An electromagnetic articulography investigation of the Czech trill-fricative, pp. 1-8. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics 19, 060278.*

Howson, P., Komova, E., & Gick, B. (2011). EGG Study of the Czech Phoneme /ř/. Journal of the Canadian Acoustics Association 39(3), 162-163.

Presentations

Peer Reviewed

2019     Listener preference is for reduced determiners that anticipate the following noun. The 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Melbourne, Australia. August 5-9. With Melissa Redford.

2019     Liquids coarticulation in child and adult speech. The 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Melbourne, Australia. August 5-9. With Melissa Redford.

2018     Gestural lenition of rhotics captures variation in Brazilian Portuguese. Interspeech 2018. Hyderabad, India. September 2-6. With Alexei Kochetov.

2018     Perceptual motivation for rhotic class membership. The 92nd Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Salt Lake City, Utah. January 4-7. With Philip J. Monahan.

2017     Coarticulation effects for dental, retroflex, and alveolopalatal fricatives, affricates and rhotics in Beijing Mandarin. The 11th International Seminar on Speech Production. Tianjin, China. October 16-19. With Richard Gananathan.

2017     Mandarin speakers’ perception of rhotics. The 11th International Seminar on Speech Production. Tianjin, China. October 16-19. With Richard Gananathan.

2017     An ultrasound investigation of Upper Sorbian rhotics. Ultrafest VIII. Potsdam, Germany. October 4-6.

2016     Formant trajectories in the realization of 3 Malayalam rhotics. The 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of Japan. Honolulu, Hawaii. November 28-December 2. With Alexei Kochetov.

2016     A preliminary ultrasound examination of Upper Sorbian rhotics. The 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of Japan. Honolulu, Hawaii. November 28-December 2.

2016     A preliminary ultrasound study of liquids in Upper Sorbian. The 11th Slavic Society Annual Meeting. Toronto, Canada. September 23-25.

2016     An acoustic examination of laterals in Lower Sorbian. The 22nd International Congress on Acoustics. Buenos Aries, Argentina. September 5-9. With Alexei Kochetov.

2016     When dynamics conflict: flap dynamics and taps in Japanese. The 15th Laboratory Phonology Conference. Ithaca, New York. July 13-16. With Noriko Yamane, Masaki Noguchi, & Bryan Gick.

2016     Adaptive dispersion: a perceptual motivation for sound change. The 15th Laboratory Phonology Conference. Ithaca, New York. July 13-16. With Philip J. Monahan.

2015     An ultrasound investigation of palatalized taps in Japanese. Ultrafest VII. Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong. December 8-10. With Noriko Yamane.

2015    On the incompatibility of trilling and palatalization: a single-subject study of sustained apical and uvular trills. Interspeech 2015. Dresden, Germany. September 6-10. With Alexei Kochtov.

2015    An acoustic examination of the three-way sibilant contrast in Lower Sorbian. Interspeech 2015. Dresden, Germany. September 6-10.

2015    An ultrasound examination of taps in Japanese. The 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, Scotland. August 10-14. With Noriko Yamane & Po-Chun Wei.

2015    An EMA examination of liquids in Czech. The 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, Scotland. August 10-14. With Alexei Kochetov.

2014    Palatalization and uvulars: an acoustic examination of Upper Sorbian. Palatalization Conference. University of Trosmø/CASTL, Norway. December 4-5.

2014    The story of ř: and ultrasound examination. 22nd Czech-German Workshop on Speech Communication. Prague, Czech Republic. September 25-27. With Ekaterina Komova.

2014    An acoustic analysis of Czech alveolar and post-alveolar fricatives. 22nd Czech-German Workshop on Speech Communication. Prague, Czech Republic. September 25-27. With Philip J. Monahan.

2014    Palatalization and sound change: an ultrasound examination of trills in Russian and Czech. Phonetic Building Blocks of Speech, in Honor of Professor John Esling. Victoria, Canada. September 18-20. With Ekaterina Komova.

2014    An EMA investigation of Czech post-alveolar and palatal consonants. The 14th Laboratory Phonology Conference. Tokyo, Japan. July 25-28. With Alexei Kochetov.

2014    An EMA investigation of the Czech alveolar and post-alveolar fricatives. The 10th International Seminar on Speech Production. Cologne, Germany. May 5-8. With Alexei Kochetov.

Invited Talks

2018    A Phonetic Basis for Contrast in Phonology. University of Oregon Colloquium Series. Eugene, Oregon.  October 19.

2016    An ultrasound examination of liquids in Upper Sorbian: a preliminary study. Sorbian Research Group. Leipzig, Germany. April 19.

Non-Peer Reviewed

2018     The role of F2 and F3 in the perception of liquids for Hindi and Mandarin listeners. 176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Victoria, British Columbia. November 5-9. With Jessamyn Schertz & M. Irfana.

2018     l-vocalization as gestural lenition: evidence from Brazilian Portuguese. QODAS 2018. April 24. Toronto, Canada. With Marzena Żygis.

2018    Rhotic typologies as a product of class perception. MOT 2018 Phonology Workshop. Hamilton, Canada. March 24-25. With Philip J. Monahan.

2017    A cross-linguistic examination of l-vocalization. MOT 2017 Phonology Workshop. Montreal, Canada. March 24-26.

2015    The acoustic profile of a natural class: the rhotics. CRC Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop. Toronto, Canada. June 8.

2015    An acoustic examination of Upper Sorbian: a reexamination of the feature specification for uvulars. MOLT. Toronto, Canada. March 13-15.

2014    An electroglottography examination of fricative and sonorous segments. 168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Indianapolis, USA. October 27-31.

2014    An airflow examination of Czech trills. 168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Indianapolis, USA. October 27-31. With Ekaterina Komova.

2013    Electropalatography examination of groove width in Russian. 166th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. San Francisco, USA. December 5. With Alexei Kochetov.

2013    An EMA investigation of the Czech trill-fricative: source and filter. CRC Workshop. The University of Toronto, Canada. August 15.

2013    Electromagnetic articulometer investigation of the Czech trill-fricative. The 21st        International Congress on Acoustics. Montreal, Canada. June 2-7. With Chris Neufeld & Alexei Kochetov.

2012    Czech Trills Revisited: an Ultrasound, EGG and Acoustic Study. LGCU Welcome Workshop. The University of Toronto, Canada. October 2.

2011    EGG and Acoustic Study of Czech Phoneme /ř/. Meeting of the Canadian Acoustic Association. Quebec City, Canada. October 12-14. With Ekaterina Komova & Bryan Gick.

2011    Ultrasound Analysis of the Czech Phoneme /ř/. Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Seattle, USA. May 23-27. With Ekaterina Komova & Bryan Gick.

Media Appearances

2014    MDR 1 Radijo Saska, 100.4 FM. Serbski Rozhłós (Sorbian Radio Station). Bautzen, Germany. May 30.