I am the “sounds’ person” in the Hispanic Linguistics track and teach phonetics and phonology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In my graduate classes, students work in projects which I help to develop into comprehensive papers, conference posters, presentations, and articles for publication.

1. Courses

1a. Hispanic Linguistics Courses

LING 2397: Topics in Hispanic Linguistics: Intonation of Spanish

Like the L2 Phonetics course, this Topics in Hispanic Linguistics: The Intonation of Spanish is a required seminar for Hispanic Linguistics (HL) graduate students. In this course we study intonation, which is the “melody of a language” conveyed by alternating prominences and rhythmic patterns that occur in the course of a spoken sentence. The course’s goal is to understand how intonation works by combining a hands-on approach with theory. In the practical part of the course students transcribe intonation using ToBI in Spanish and the Atlas of Spanish Intonation (http://prosodia.upf.edu/atlasentonacion/index.html) while exploring the meanings and acoustic cues of the intonation units they transcribe. This hands-on approach is combined with theory by reading research articles on topics such as the theory of intonation, intonation processing, L2 intonation, and recent criticism of established models.

LING 2391: Phonology of Spanish

Required core course for Hispanic Linguistics (HL) majors taught entirely in Spanish. Through the lens of sound and phonological theory, students are exposed to the scientific study of the dialectal and language diversity found within the Spanish speaking world. This diversity ranges from understudied varieties of Latin American Spanish (Tucuman Spanish, Tonadilla Cordobesa) to indigenous American languages (Mayan contact with Spanish), Spanish-based creoles (Palenquero), and other peninsular languages like Catalan, Galician, and Astur-Leones. At the same time, students learn how to teach pronunciation by designing research informed perception training tasks.

LING 2397: Topics in Hispanic Linguistics: L2 Phonetics (graduate)

Required seminar for HL graduate students in which Spanish is used for academic discussions on L2 phonetics. This seminar comes after the HL core courses (LING 2391 and LING 2394), where students refine their oral and written academic Spanish. The objective of this course is to gain a scientific understanding of why the speech of those who acquire a language as their second tongue is (almost always) noticeably different from those who have acquired it as their first language. By reading current research on second language systems with special reference to Spanish as an L2, we explore accentedness as part of the complex interactions that comprise the second language phonological system, interactions between speech motor skills, auditory perception, and a host of facets of higher level categorization and grammatical functioning.

1b. Courses in Linguistics

LING 1578: Phonetics and Phonemics

Upper-level requirement for Linguistics majors that shows students how speech sounds are seen from articulatory, acoustic and perceptual perspectives. Students learn the anatomy of the vocal tract, ear and central nervous system together with acoustic physics in order to explain the production and perception of sounds in the world’s languages.

LING 1579: Phonology

Required upper-level course for Linguistics majors. Students are exposed to the different sound systems in the languages of the world. By solving problems based on real data, students gain an understanding of possible and impossible grammars and how they may account for language diversity and different speech pathologies.

LING 2578: Phonetics and Phonemics

A required core course for master’s and doctoral students in Linguistics. Students gain (1) a solid understanding of how sound perception and production work across languages via laboratory hands-on practices with Praat, free software to record, edit, measure and manipulate sound and (2) learn how this knowledge is tested experimentally in actual research by reading current research on a topic of their interest and presenting it in class. Students design a phonetics experiement.

LING 3578: Seminar on Advanced Phonetics: Intonation across languages                                  

Advanced phonetics course offered to graduate students in Linguistics to study intonation across languages. The first part of the course focuses on American English (AE) by transcribing AE and its different dialects with the ToBI system while eventually using Spanish as a point of comparison. In the second part of the course we work on the intonation system of tonal languages like Chinese, of pitch-accent languages like Japanese and Basque, and of creoles like Palenquero. We combine this practical transcription component with theory on intonation by reading articles on the intonation of those languages, on intonation theory, and on approaches critical to current models.

LING 1000: Introduction to Linguistics

Lower-level requirement for Linguistic majors offered every semester. This class exposes students to the basic tenets of the main linguistic disciplines – i.e., phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics — by training them to solve problems with different types of speech data– i.e., sounds, words, sentences, discourse — and in at least 30 different languages.

2. Sample of students’ projects developed into articles and presentations


*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.

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

Posters and Presentations