Research

I conduct experimental research to explore how prosody affects speech perception and the mental representations of phonetic and phonological knowledge. Some themes in my research are:

  1. Prosody in tonal and non-tonal languages
  2. L2 prosody: perception, production, and mental representations
  3. Documenting prosody in understudied languages and populations
  4. Social, linguistic, and emotional aspects of prosody

1. Prosody in tonal and non-tonal languages

Basic research into prosodic systems. It addresses questions like:

  • How are the variations of duration, pitch, and intensity used to express lexical, sentence-level, and pragmatic meanings cross-linguistically?
  • How do speakers process prosody and intonation?
  • How are stress and accent represented cross-linguistically?

Representative Publications

Ortega-Llebaria, M.,Olson, D., Tuninetti, A. (2018). “Explaining cross-language asymmetries in prosodic processing: The Cue-Driven Window Length hypothesis.”  Language and Speech

Wu,Z. and Ortega-Llebaria, M. (2017). “Pitch shape modulates the time course of tone vs. pitch accent processing in Mandarin Chinese.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 141 (3),pp. 2263-2276.

Ortega-Llebaria,M. and Prieto, P. (2011). “Acoustic correlates of stress in Central Catalan and Castilian Spanish.” Language and Speech 54(1),pp. 1-25.

Ortega-Llebaria,M., Prieto, P. and Vanrell, M. (2010). “Catalan speakers’ perception of word stress in unaccented contexts.”Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 127(1),pp. 462-471.

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2. L2 prosody: perception, production, and mental representations

This line of research investigates the role of the native language prosody in a second language, and the prosody of bilingual speakers. It addresses questions such as:

  • How do speakers of tonal and non-tonal languages (e.g., Chinese speakers of English) represent pitch in their bilingual lexicons?
  • What is the extent of the stress deafness phenomenon?
  • What aspects of L2 prosody are the most difficult to learn and why?

Representative Publications

Ortega-Llebaria,M,*Nemoga, M., Presson, N. (2017). “Long-term experience with a tonal language shapes the perception of intonation in English words: How Chinese–English bilinguals perceive “Rose?” vs.“Rose”.”Bilingualism: Language and Cognition,  pp. 1-17.

Ortega-Llebaria, M.and Colantoni, L. (2014). “The L2 acquisition of English intonation: form-meaning associations and maintenance of auditory resolution to acoustic cues.” Studies in Second Language Acquisition 36, pp.331-353.

Ortega-Llebaria, M.,*Hong, G., *Fan, Y. (2013). “English speakers’ perception of Spanish lexical stress: Context-driven L2 stress perception.” Journal of Phonetics 41 (3-4),pp. 186-197.

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3. Documenting prosody in understudied languages, dialects, and populations

Circles’ size reflect the number of speakers per language.

Ideally, an unbiased understanding of speech perception is based in a representative sample of languages and speakers. This line of research contributes to this goal by documenting the prosody and segmental contrasts of understudied languages and populations 

Representative Publications

Teran,V. and Ortega-Llebaria,M. (2017). “A description of Tucumán Spanish intonation.” Open Linguistics 3(1), pp. 456-490.

Ortega-Llebaria,M. and Bosch, L. (2015). “Cross-dialectal discrimination in early infancy: A look at prosodic, rhythmic and segmental properties”. In Joaquin Romero and MariaRiera (Eds.), The Phonetics-Phonology Interface. Representations and methodologies.Current Issues in Linguistic Theory. 2015:Amsterdam/Philadelphia, pp. 55-71.

Olson,Daniel and Ortega-Llebaria, M.(2010). “Perceptual relevance of code switching and intonation in creating narrow focus.” In Marta Ortega-Llebaria (Ed.) Selected Proceedings of the 4thConference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology, Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Cascadilla Press, Sommerville, MA.,pp. 57-68.

Manolescu,A., Olson, D., Ortega-Llebaria, M.(2009) “Cues to contrastive focus in Romanian.” In M. Vigário, S. Frota and M.J. Freitas. (Eds.). Interactions in Phonetics and Phonology, John Benjamins: Amsterdam/Philadelphia, pp. 71-90.

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4. Social, linguistic, and emotional aspects of prosody

Under construction……

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