Connor Mayer

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

Recent news:

  • I will be giving a presentation titled "Quantal biomechanical effects in speech postures of the lips" at the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 2019 in Melbourne, Australia, from August 5th to August 9th. This is a collaboration with Bryan Gick, Chenhao Chiu, Erik Widing, Francois Roewer-Despres, Sid Fels, and Ian Stavness. The accompanying proceedings paper can be found here.
  • I will be presenting "A phonological model of Uyghur intonation" at the ICPhS Satellite Meeting on the Intonational Phonology of Typologically Rare or Understudied Languages in Melbourne, Australia on August 4th. This is a collaboration with Travis Major.
  • I will be giving a presentation titled "A method for learning features from observed phonological classes" at the 2019 Canadian Linguistics Association Meeting in Vancouver, BC from June 1st to June 3rd. This is a collaboration with Robert Daland. The full paper that is the basis for this talk can be found here.
  • I will be presenting "Wug-testing Uyghur vowel harmony: trigger conflicts, variation, and distance-based decay" at the 27th Manchester Phonology Meeting in Manchester, England from May 23rd to May 25th. This is a collaboration with Travis Major and Mahire Yakup. The abstract can be found here.

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.