Anne-Michelle Tessier and Kayla Day (University of Alberta)

This course provides a conceptual and practical introduction to current tools for analyzing, querying and inspecting phonological data, specifically for studying the acquisition of formal grammars. It is aimed at students who are familiar with IPA transcriptions and constraint-based phonology, and who are looking to learn more about child speech, longitudinal development and learning simulations.

On the practical side, the course will include hands-on introductions to:

i)                    Phon (Rose et al, 2006, and PhonBank) as a method for processing and searching transcribed speech files using features, segments, strings and syllabification

ii)                   the UMass OT-Help tool (Staubs et al, 2010) for evaluating OT and HG typologies

iii)                 Bruce Hayes’ MaxEnt Grammar Tool

iv)                 the UCLA Phonotactic Learner (from Hayes and Wilson, 2008)

As we will work with each tool, we will also discuss its role(s) in the bigger picture: What can this tool tell you about your data? And what assumptions does it require the analyst to make, about grammar and about learning? Students are encouraged to bring their own data to analyze, but sufficiently large in-class examples will also be provided for extensive practice.