The Phonology Lab: Five years on

Five years ago the Phonology Laboratory became fully operational, so it’s a good time to summarize the lab’s achievements.

The PhonoLab’s sound-attenuated recording booth is located in RuCCS, in the Psychology Building addition on the ground floor (Room 130A). The Lab also has a variety of field recording equipment (audio and visual), testing equipment (e.g., for hearing, visual acuity, color blindness), and calibration devices.

Recording booth
Recording booth in the Phonology and Field Research Laboratory

Many researchers have used the booth and field equipment. For example, Michael Opper, an undergraduate researcher, used field-recording equipment in the interior of Taiwan, and wrote an award-winning thesis; Michael is now studying at the University of Michigan. Seunghun Lee, as a graduate student, recorded a variety of speakers for his doctoral dissertation on tone-consonant interaction; Seunghun is now an assistant professor at CCSU. Most recently, undergraduates Bryton McGrath and Ariel Fremed worked on creating a prescreening questionnaire to be used in field and laboratory experimentation in phonology; they presented their work at the Aresty Undergraduate Symposium.

One of the core goals of the PhonoLab was to provide researchers from related disciplines with the means to create high-quality recordings for analysis or as stimuli and to create a quiet environment for particular perception experiments. Many faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate researchers from departments such as Linguistics, Psychology, French, Biomedical Engineering, and RuCCS have used the equipment in their research. A list of some of the publications and presentations to result from PhonoLab work can be found here.

Another goal of the PhonoLab was to involve undergraduates in research. The PhonoLab has had 30 undergraduate researchers to date, and will have a further 17 in the next academic year. They have worked on projects as diverse as fieldwork in remote locations, phonetic transcription, using analysis software, creating databases, and constructing subject prescreening questionnaires. Many have gone on to graduate programs in linguistics and speech pathology.

To date, at least 17 faculty from Rutgers and other universities have published research that used the PhonoLab’s resources; at least 10 graduate students have used the lab’s resources to complete QPs and doctoral dissertations; in addition to the PhonoLab’s RAs, approximately 20 other undergraduate researchers have used the lab for research.

The PhonoLab’s goals remain the same: to continue providing support for field research and high-quality recording, and to serve as a base for research in field and experimental phonology. If you are a linguist or in a related field and would like to talk about using field research equipment or the sound-attenuated booth, please contact Paul de Lacy.