Research Opportunities in Linguistics

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[edit] Research Exchange

This page serves as a research exchange for faculty and graduate students in linguistics who are seeking research assistance and undergraduates who are looking for opportunities to take part in research.

Posts concerning research assistance should include:

  • Title of the project
  • Specific tasks/duties you would like done
  • Any specific skills or abilities that are required
  • Time commitment expected (ex. 3 hours per week, a total of 40 hours over the course of the summer, up to 20 hours total, etc.)
  • Start date
  • Compensation information (Uncompensated, experience only? UROP? Course credit? Work-study? Hourly rate?)
  • Contact information
  • Status of the project as "open" or "closed"

Once the project is finished or you have enough help, please mark the position as closed or delete the posting.

[edit] Open Research Positions

Prosodic Structure (OPEN, Jelena Krivokapic)

Researcher: Jelena Krivokapic (jelenak@umich.edu), Assistant Professor of Linguistics

I am looking for students to help me with a study examining prosodic structure of English. The first part of the study involves listening to sentences, verifying their prosodic structure, and marking the beginnings and ends of sentences in Praat. Weekly time commitment 4 hours or more per week (up to you how much more). No experience is necessary, although some phonetic training is a plus. The position is paid ($13 per hour). Research credit opportunities may be possible for next semester. If interested, please contact me at jelenak@umich.edu.


Computational analyses of language usage (OPEN, Nick Ellis)

Researcher: Nick Ellis (ncellis@umich.edu), Professor of Psychology and Linguistics

I am looking for students who enjoy working with computers (packages such as Parser, NLTK, Emergent, CLAN; languages such as Python, R) to work with me investigating how patterns of language usage affect language learning. Time commitment can vary. Credit opportunities are possible from independent study up to Honors thesis dependent upon skill and interest. There is the possibility of paid employment too for someone with the right skills.

Contact Nick Ellis [1] if interested.


A Reception Study of "Genre in Three Traditions" (OPEN, John Swales)

Researcher: John M. Swales (jmswales@umich.edu), Professor Emeritus of Linguistics

This project (for a plenary to be delivered at the end of June) involves tracking who has cited a 1996 paper, "Genre in three traditions", and why.

The project might appeal particularly to somebody also interested in Information Science. Work involves using Google scholar, Scopus and Web of Science to trace the considerable citation history of this article, incidentally written by someone with a PhD in linguistics from Michigan.

Alas my research funds are almost exhausted; Independent study is possible.


Phonology and Discourse (CLOSED, Prof. Ezra Keshet): Looking for students to identify sound clips with desired features and transcribe for use in a study of phonetic/phonological features of discourse structures in English. No experience necessary.


Semantics & Baseball (SUSPENDED, Prof. Ezra Keshet): Looking for students to help transcribe radio broadcasts of baseball games in order to examine how this language encodes the action going on in the game. Time commitment can vary from 1 game (4-5 hours' work) up to as many games as you want, starting in early May. Work is uncompensated, but credit opportunities are possible. Email me at ekeshet@umich.edu if you are interested.


Multi-Lingual Grammar Annotation (CLOSED for now, Terry Szymanski): I am assembling a corpus of electronic texts of language description materials (i.e. grammars and lexicons) for as many languages as possible. I am looking for volunteer (unpaid, non-credit) help in building this corpus. Duties include:

  • Search the internet to find relevant electronic texts and add them to the corpus
  • Annotate texts using the GATE annotation software. Annotation includes labeling foreign words in the text and identifying glosses of these words within the text.
  • Work on any language or language family that interests you
  • Get experience using NLP tools (GATE: the General Architecture for Text Engineering) and concepts in language documentation, language engineering, information extraction, and machine learning

Contact Terry Szymanski tdszyman@umich.edu if you are interested.


Adaptive eye movements in reading (OPEN, Michael Shvartsman and Dr. Rick Lewis): We are interested in understanding how people people move their eyes while reading. More specifically, we want to understand how people adapt their eye movement patterns while reading both to their own underlying cognitive / motor constraints, and to the specific reading task in front of them. Interested undergraduates will get a chance to learn how to work with a head-mounted eye-tracker, as well as learn about cutting-edge theories of adaptive control and lexical processing. Opportunities to learn data analysis in R and get involved in computational modeling are available as well. Currently for lab/research credit only (including summer). Email mshvarts@umich.edu if interested.


Processing of Modern Greek phonetic data (OPEN, Jon Yip): I am looking for volunteers to help me process a fairly large amount of ultrasound video, camera video, and audio recorded during the production of Modern Greek consonants. Tasks include:

  • Data file conversion, processing, and back-up
  • Annotation using Praat TextGrids to label acoustic intervals in sound files
  • (For students with more advanced knowledge of phonetics:) Semi-automated measurement of sound gestures in real-time ultrasound and camera video imagery

Involvement with this project could take 30 to 50 hours (depending on how quickly work progresses) over the course of the spring/summer (April to September 2012). Work is currently uncompensated, but research credit opportunities (such as independent study with a faculty supervisor) may be possible. Contact Jon Yip at jonyip@umich.edu if you're interested.

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