The research interests of UR linguists range across several research areas and wide collaborative interests.
Computational and Experimental Semantics and Pragmatics
Phonetics and Phonology
Speech is a purposeful and complex activity organized to convey meaning and intent; it's the primary vehicle for the transmission of human language and linguistic structure. Phonetics and phonology concern speech production and perception, the analysis of the organization of sound systems in human language, and their interface with meaning and structure. Current research projects in the Phonetics Lab include field phonetics and language documentation, the developing an interactive online speech atlas of the Dene language communities, investigation
Language Documentation and Description (LDD)
In the McKenzie Basin of the Canadian taiga, in the Amazon basin, and in eastern Indonesia and Sri Lanka, Department of Linguistics faculty members go into the field to record native speakers of endangered languages, then return to Rochester to transcribe and analyze. In many cases, these are oral languages spoken by a dwindling number of people whose cultures have been uprooted. To preserve these languages requires creating a written version as well. The stakes are high. When a language is lost, so is the culture of the people who spoke that language -- and all of their history as well. There is a broader loss as well, just as when a rare or endangered species of plant or animal becomes extinct: Human language is fully understood only by examining it in all of its diverse forms.
Typology, Historical Linguistics, Sociolinguistics
The study of language variation and change links synchronic variation in language with
Related to our department's focus on language documentation is a focus on language variation and change in endangered languages and in the process of language shift. Maya Abtahian studies the linguistic and social causes and outcomes of language shift in minority language communities from a variationist perspective.
She is also currently running The Rochester Accent Project. The purpose of The Rochester Accent Project is to provide a sociolinguistic description of Rochester/Monroe County, NY within upstate New York and the Inland North dialect region. The specific aims of the project are to document features of the dialect of Rochester and the surrounding areas and to learn about the life, history
Prof. Runner is not accepting new graduate students at this time