Connor Mayer

Department of Linguistics
3125 Campbell Hall, UCLA
Los Angeles, CA

Recent news:

  • I will be presenting a poster with Bryan Gick and Ian Stavness titled "A biomechanical model for infant speech and aerodigestive movements" at the 176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Victoria, BC, Canada on November 9th.
  • I will be presenting a poster with Thomas Graf titled "Sanskrit n-retroflexion is Input-Output Tier-Based Strictly Local" at SIGMORPHON 2018 in Brussels, Belgium on October 31st.
  • I will be presenting a poster with Megha Sundara titled "Modeling developmental changes in infants' discrimination of English vowels" at the Boston University Conference on Language Development in Boston on November 2nd.

I'm a third year PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at UCLA. I'm generally interested in understanding language as something that takes place within, and hence is constrained and shaped by, the human body. More specifically, I'm interested in the evolution of human language, language acquisition (primarily from a phonetics/phonology perspective), the interface between phonetics and phonology, speech motor control, and using computational methods to inform and validate linguistic theories. Lately I've been looking into how characterizations of formal complexity in phonology can help inform and constrain phonological theory.

From the perspective of a linguist, I'm excited about the prospect of applying new computational techniques to old linguistic problems. From more of an engineering perspective, I'm excited about the prospect of applying more linguistically-informed models to natural language processing tasks, and whether this can improve performance on languages with a small written footprint. I think the worlds of linguistics and NLP have a lot to offer each other.

As an undergrad I was fortunate to be able to work with speakers of Kwak'wala and Nuu-chah-nulth. Lately I've been working on Uyghur.