CAS Faculty Awarded Grants for Cutting-Edge Linguistics Research

September 23, 2010

Associate Professor of Romance Studies Jonathan Barnes and Professor of Romance Studies Carol Neidle recently received grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to do cutting-edge linguistics research.

Barnes, in collaboration with researchers from MIT and Simmons College, sets out to expand on the notion of the Tonal Center of Gravity, an all-encompassing method of tone perception and production. The NSF has given him $252,555 to expand on current research data. He plans to study multiple languages in order to detect additional English intonation patterns. This research, titled “Integrating shape, scaling, and alignment in a global approach to F0 events in intonation systems,” will aid in developing new algorithms for synthetic speech, creating computer software that can evoke even the most intricate nuances of human speech. 

Neidle’s research project, “Linguistically Based ASL Sign Recognition as a Structured Multivariate Learning Problem,” will develop a “linguistically-based hierarchical framework for ASL sign recognition.” The NSF has given her and Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering Professor Dimitris Metaxas from Rutgers University $1.2 million to conduct their research. They hope to enhance computer-based modeling and analysis of ASL by incorporating diverse aspects of signing and facial gestures. The software, videos, and annotations from their study will be made available to the public.

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