People

 Catherine Travis Project Leader

Catherine Travis

  • Title: Project Leader
  • Institution: Australian National University

Catherine Travis' research addresses questions related to linguistic and social factors impacting on language variation and change, in particular in socially diverse communities. As well as the Sydney Speaks project, she also works on language contact in a long-standing Spanish-English bilingual community in northern New Mexico, USA (New Mexico Spanish-English Bilingual project). A book arising from this project, Bilingualism in the Community (co-authored with Rena Torres Cacoullos) was published by CUP in 2018. Catherine is Professor of Modern European Languages in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the ANU. She has a BA/Asian Studies (Hons) degree from the ANU (1992), and a PhD in Linguistics and Spanish from La Trobe University (2002). She worked at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque for 10 years, before coming to the ANU in 2012.

Simon Gonzalez Post-doctoral Fellow

Simon Gonzalez

  • Title: Post-doctoral Fellow
  • Institution: Australian National University

Simon’s research focuses on acoustic phonetics, empowered by computational tools. After finishing his PhD in English Phonology (Australian English) at the University of Newcastle, and working as a Research Assistant at Griffith University analysing West Australian English (ARC-funded, led by Gerard Docherty), his experience is mainly on Australian English. He develops computational tools (scripts and online apps) for more efficient and practical analysis/visualisation of phonetic and phonological phenomena.

Recent Publications

  1. Comparing the performance of forced aligners used in sociophonetic research

    Bibliography

    Simon Gonzalez, James Grama, and Catherine Travis. 2020. "Comparing the performance of forced aligners used in sociophonetic research." Linguistics Vanguard. 6 (1) doi: doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2019-0058.

  2. Australian English Bilingual Corpus: Automatic forced-alignment accuracy in Russian and English

    Bibliography

    Ksenia Gnevsheva, Simon Gonzalez, and Robert Fromont. 2020. "Australian English Bilingual Corpus: Automatic forced-alignment accuracy in Russian and English." Australian Journal of Linguistics. 40: doi: DOI: 10.1080/07268602.2020.1737507.

  3. Using forced alignment for sociophonetic research on a minority language

    Bibliography

    Danielle Barth, James Grama, Simon Gonzalez, and Catherine Travis. 2020. "Using forced alignment for sociophonetic research on a minority language." University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics. 25 (2)

  4. The /el-/ael/ merger in Australian English: Acoustic and articulatory insights

    Bibliography

    Chloe Diskin, Deborah Loakes, Rosey Billington, Hywel Stoakes, Simon Gonzalez, and Sam Kirkham. 2019. "The /el-/ael/ merger in Australian English: Acoustic and articulatory insights". In Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia, 2019,

  5. An acoustic analysis of short front vowel realisations in the conversational style of young English speakers from Western Australia

    Bibliography

    Gerard Docherty, Simon Gonzalez, Nathaniel Mitchell, and Paul Foulkes. 2019. "An acoustic analysis of short front vowel realisations in the conversational style of young English speakers from Western Australia". In Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia, 2019,

James Grama Post-doctoral Fellow

James Grama

  • Title: Post-doctoral Fellow
  • Institution: Australian National University

James completed his PhD at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where he focused largely on vocalic variation in English and English-based varieties. His work on California English, Hawaiʻi English, and Hawaiʻi Creole has investigated the ways in which phonetic variation is correlated with social factors and sound change over time. In his research, he uses quantitative acoustic measures along with rigorous statistical models to describe how changes in linguistic varieties have taken shape, especially in heterogeneous communities. At the Centre, he works as a member of the Sydney Speaks project where he hopes to investigate the acoustic features of a variety of features of Australian English in the diverse and changing Sydney community, especially as a function of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and network affiliation.

Recent Publications

  1. Comparing the performance of forced aligners used in sociophonetic research

    Bibliography

    Simon Gonzalez, James Grama, and Catherine Travis. 2020. "Comparing the performance of forced aligners used in sociophonetic research." Linguistics Vanguard. 6 (1) doi: doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2019-0058.

  2. Using forced alignment for sociophonetic research on a minority language

    Bibliography

    Danielle Barth, James Grama, Simon Gonzalez, and Catherine Travis. 2020. "Using forced alignment for sociophonetic research on a minority language." University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics. 25 (2)

  3. Initiation, progression and conditioning of the short front vowel shift in Australian English

    Bibliography

    James Grama, Catherine Travis, and Simon Gonzalez. 2019. "Initiation, progression and conditioning of the short front vowel shift in Australian English". In Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia, 2019,

  4. Recursive forced alignment: A test on a minority language

    Bibliography

    Simon Gonzalez, Catherine Travis, James Grama, Danielle Barth, and Sunkulp Ananthanarayan. 2018. "Recursive forced alignment: A test on a minority language". In Proceedings of the 17th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, 145-148.

Cale Johnstone Project Manager

Cale Johnstone

  • Title: Project Manager
  • Institution: Australian National University

Cale Johnstone is Project Manager for the Sydney Speaks project. She holds a BA in Latin American Studies from the Australian National University (2016). After working full time on Sydney Speaks throughout 2017, Cale is moving to Mexico where she will continue to contribute to the corpus development of the project by distance. Previously, she gained experience working in a non-governmental organisation in Mexico providing support to infants and single parents in the community. In this position she managed a team of local and international staff and volunteers with diverse linguistic needs. She has a TEFL qualification and has taught English and Spanish at all levels. She is excited to be part of the Sydney Speaks team.

Elena Sheard PhD student

Elena Sheard

  • Title: PhD student
  • Institution: Australian National University

“Language and social change over the lifespan: Speakers of Australian English forty years on”

Elena completed Honours in 2017 at the University of Sydney, focusing on linguistic variation and language ideologies in young adults from Western and Northern Sydney, based on which she published an article in the Australian Journal of Linguistics in 2019. She is now doing her PhD with the Sydney Speaks project, under the supervision of Catherine Travis. Her thesis involves a lifespan study, examining the speech of a group of Anglo-, Greek-, and Italian-Australians who were recorded as teenagers (in the 1970s) and again as adults (in the 2010s). The project uses quantitative methods to investigate the role of the individual in language change and the relationship(s) between different variables (phonological, morphological and discourse) over time on the level of the community and individual.

Gan Qiao PhD student

Gan Qiao

  • Title: PhD student
  • Institution: Australian National University

“Language Use and Ethnic Identity: Evidence from Australian English by Second Generation Migrants from China”

Gan completed his MA in 2019 at Xi’an Jiaotong University where he mainly focused on structural priming and interactive alignment in L2 English. Now he is doing his PhD on the Sydney Speaks project, working under the guidance of Catherine Travis. His project examines ethnolectal variation in morphosyntactic features in Australian English used by Anglo-, Greek-, Italian- and Chinese-Australians, with a particular focus on Chinese-Australians, including from Hong Kong and mainland China. In his research, he uses quantitative methods and adopts apparent-time and real-time constructs to investigate where ethnolectal variation comes from and how ethnolects change across time.

Ben Purser Lead RA

Ben Purser

  • Title: Lead RA
  • Institution: Australian National University

Ben graduated from the Australian National University in 2014 with a PhB in Linguistics, receiving First Class Honours and the University Medal. He joined the Sydney Speaks project that same year, transcribing the 1970s data and developing research methodologies. Ben presented his Honours research on children’s vowel variation and social networks at the Australian Linguistics Society annual conference in 2015, and continued working as Lead RA while undertaking performing arts training in Sydney for the next two years. After a year working abroad in Tokyo, Japan, Ben rejoined the team in 2018 based in Sydney, working in many capacities across both the 1970s and contemporary corpora. Ben currently divides his time between Sydney Speaks and performing arts, recently appearing in Opera Australia’s production of West Side Story.

Ksenia Gnevsheva Project Affiliate

Ksenia Gnevsheva

My research interests lie at the intersection of sociolinguistics and second language acquisition and have largely been shaped by my training in theoretical and applied linguistics. The two main strands of my research program focus on language variation and change as applied to bilingual speakers: sociophonetic variation in the speech of bilinguals and factors affecting variation in perception of foreign-accented speech. I finished my PhD at the University of Canterbury and worked in research and development in the industry before starting my current position as a Lecturer in Linguistics at Australian National University.

Recent Publications

  1. Australian English Bilingual Corpus: Automatic forced-alignment accuracy in Russian and English

    Bibliography

    Ksenia Gnevsheva, Simon Gonzalez, and Robert Fromont. 2020. "Australian English Bilingual Corpus: Automatic forced-alignment accuracy in Russian and English." Australian Journal of Linguistics. 40: doi: DOI: 10.1080/07268602.2020.1737507.

Barbara Horvath Project Advisor

Barbara Horvath

  • Title: Project Advisor
  • Institution: University of Sydney

Barbara's research interests have centred on empirical and quantitative studies of English speech communities, particularly those that include ethnic varieties of English resulting from in-migration or which were originally bilingual speech communities. Before joining the University of Sydney Linguistics Department in the mid-70s, she studied Mexican children in Los Angeles and African-American, Anglo and Mexican children in Lansing, Michigan. The Sydney speech community provided the opportunity to study the impact of recent widespread migration (Italians and Greeks) on Australian English, building on the work of A. G. Mitchell, Arthur Delbridge and John Bernard. After retiring from Sydney University, she collaborated with Sylvie Dubois from Louisiana State University for ten years on the study of Cajun English. Most recently, with Ronald Horvath, she analysed a language change in progress in nine cities - five in Australia, three in New Zealand, and one in England (London) with the aim of integrating sociolinguistics and dialect geography. Barbara received an MA from Michigan State University and a PhD from Georgetown University.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University