Richard Wright, Lab Director

Contact Information

Office: Guggenheim 415B
Phone: (206) 616 2426

Research Interests

I am interested in 3 areas of phonetics which sometimes overlap. My primary interest is in understanding sources of systematic variation in the production and perception of language, and how it relates to language universals and language structure (i.e., Language). To this end I have spent quite a bit of time trying to understand factors that affect the pronunciation of spoken languages (and I have a dream of extending this research to signed languages as well). These factors include: lexical characteristics (such as type and token frequency, phonological neighborhood density, sociolinguistic traits of words, etc.), discourse and pragmatic factors (such as word/phrase entropy, stance, and contextual factors such as audience), intonational factors, how the perceptual needs of the listener shape the pronunciation strategies of the talker, language specific phonological and phonetic factors such as the number and type of phonological contrasts in a language, and the native language of a particular talker. As part of this enterprise I have spent a lot of my research time on trying to understand perceptual adaptation to distortion in linguistic contexts — distortion can come in many guises: hearing loss, noise, and linguistic distortion such as unfamiliar accents or dialects. Another piece of this puzzle is how humans use or are impeded by variation in learning. The last piece of this puzzle for me is description of the range of variation attested in languages at a detailed phonetic/acoustic level. For me languages that are in danger of disappearing are of extreme importance; without a good sense of how languages vary, not only in terms of the symbolic units such as phonemes and allophones but also in the details of their phonetic implementation, we have little hope of understanding the possible range of language. Endangered languages inparticular represent important but often-ignored source of information about what is possible in Language.

Selected Publications (Click here for a full CV).

McCloy, D.R., Wright, R.A., & Souza, P.E. (2014). Modeling intrinsic intelligibility variation: Vowel-space size and structure. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, 18, 060007. doi:10.1121/1.4870070.

Souza, P.E., Gehani, N., Wright, R.A., & McCloy, D.R. (2013). The advantage of knowing the talker. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 24, 689–700. doi:10.3766/jaaa.24.8.6. [manuscript]

Moran, S., McCloy, D.R., & Wright, R.A. (2012). Revisiting the population size vs. phoneme inventory size. Language, 88(4), 877–893. doi:10.1353/lan.2012.0087.

Souza, P.E., Wright, R.A., & Bor, S. (2012). Consequences of Broad Auditory Filters for Identification of Multichannel-Compressed Vowels. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 55(2): 474-486.

Wright, R.A. & Souza, P.E. (2012). Comparing identification of standardized and regionally-valid vowels. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research.

Souza, P. E., Wright, R. A., & Bor, S. (accepted for publication). Combined multichannel compression and reduced frequency selectivity for vowel identification. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research.

Osterhout, L., Wright, R. A., & Allen, M. D. (2010). The psychology of linguistic form. In P. C. Hogan (Ed.), The Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Friesen, Lendra M., Tremblay, K. L., Rohila, N., Wright, R. A., Shannon, R. V., Başkent, D., & Rubinstein, J. T. (2009). Evoked cortical activity and speech recognition as a function of the number of simulated cochlear implant channels. Clinical Neurophysiology, 120(4), 776-782. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2009.01.008

Bor, S., Souza, P. E., & Wright, R. A. (2008). Multichannel compression: Effects of reduced spectral contrast on vowel identification. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 51(5), 1315-1327. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0009)

Harnsberger, J. D., Wright, R. A., & Pisoni, D. B. (2008). A new method for eliciting three speaking styles in the laboratory. Speech Communication, 50(4), 323-336. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2007.11.001

Beckford-Wassink, A., Wright, R. A., & Franklin, A. D. (2007). Intraspeaker variability in vowel production: An investigation of motherese, hyperspeech, and Lombard speech in Jamaican speakers. Journal of Phonetics, 35(3), 363-379. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2006.07.002

Bates, R. A., Ostendorf, M., & Wright, R. A. (2007). Symbolic phonetic features for modeling of pronunciation variation. Speech Communication, 49(2), 83-97. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2006.10.007

Wright, R. A. (2006). Experimental phonology. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Johnson, K., Fleming, E., & Wright, R. A. (2004). Response to Whalen et al. Language, 80(4), 646-649.

Wright, R. A. (2004a). Factors of lexical competition in vowel articulation. In J. Local, R. Ogden, & R. Temple (Eds.), Phonetic interpretation, Papers in Laboratory Phonology (pp. 75-87). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Wright, R. A. (2004b). A review of perceptual cues and cue robustness. In B. Hayes, R. Kirchner, & D. Steriade (Eds.), Phonetically based phonology (pp. 34-57). Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Tremblay, K.L., Friesen, L. M., Martin, B. A., & Wright, R. A. (2003). Test-retest reliability of cortical evoked potentials using naturally produced speech sounds. Ear and Hearing, 24(3), 225-232.

Wright, R. A., Hargus, S., & Davis, K. (2002). On the categorization of ejectives: Data from Witsuwit'en. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 32(1), 43-77. doi:10.1017/S0025100302000142

Frisch, S. A., & Wright, R. A. (2002). The phonetics of phonological speech errors: An acoustic analysis of slips of the tongue. Journal of Phonetics, 30(2), 139-162. doi:10.1006/jpho.2002.0176

Wright, R. A. (2001). Perceptual cues in contrast maintenance. In E. V. Hume & K. Johnson (Eds.), The role of speech perception in phonology (pp. 251-277). San Diego: Academic Press.

Harnsberger, J. D., Svirsky, M. A., Kaiser, A. R., Pisoni, D. B., Wright, R. A., & Meyer, T. A. (2001). Perceptual "vowel spaces" of cochlear implant users: Implications for the study of auditory adaptation to spectral shift. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 109(5), 2135-2145. doi:10.1121/1.1350403

Wright, R. A. (1999). Tsou consonant clusters and auditory cue preservation. In E. Zeitoun & P. J.-K. Li (Eds.), Selected papers from the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics (pp. 277-312). Presented at the Eighth International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics, Taipei: Zhōngyāng yán jiù yuàn yǔyán xué yánjiū suǒ chóubèi chù 中央研究院語言學研究所籌備處 [Academia Sinica Institute of Linguistics, Preparatory Office].

Wright, R. A., Frisch, S. A., & Pisoni, D. B. (1999). Speech perception. In J. G. Webster (Ed.), Wiley encyclopedia of electrical and electronics engineering. New York: Wiley.

Wright, R. A., & Ladefoged, P. (1997). A phonetic study of Tsou. Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, 68(4), 987-1028.

Wright, R. A., & Shryock, A. (1993). The effects of implosives on pitch in SiSwati. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 23(1), 16-23. doi:10.1017/S0025100300004734

Johnson, K., Flemming, E., & Wright, R. A. (1993). The hyperspace effect: Phonetic targets are hyperarticulated. Language, 69(3), 505-528.