T. Florian Jaeger

T. Florian Jaeger
University of Rochester | UR · Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Ph.D. in Linguistics with a designation in Cognitive Science

About

165
Publications
49,380
Reads
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8,490
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2016 - present
University of Rochester
Position
  • Professor (Full)
July 2014 - present
University of Rochester
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
July 2013 - present
University of Rochester
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (165)
Article
Full-text available
Successful speech perception requires that listeners map the acoustic signal to linguistic categories. These mappings are not only probabilistic, but change depending on the situation. For example, one talker's /p/ might be physically indistinguishable from another talker's /b/ (cf. lack of invariance). We characterize the computational problem pos...
Article
Full-text available
When we read or listen to language, we are faced with the challenge of inferring intended messages from noisy input. This challenge is exacerbated by considerable variability between and within speakers. Focusing on syntactic processing (parsing), we test the hypothesis that language comprehenders rapidly adapt to the syntactic statistics of novel...
Article
Full-text available
Languages of the world display many structural similarities. We test the hypothesis that some of these structural properties may arise from biases operating during language acquisition that shape languages over time. Specifically, we investigate whether language learners are biased toward linguistic systems that strike an efficient balance between...
Article
Full-text available
1. Introduction 1.1. Summary of Atkinson 2011 Atkinson (2011) sets out to test the so-called “serial founder model” against crosslinguistic data on phonological diversity. In his words (Atkinson 2011: Supporting Online Material: 3), the serial founder model predicts that [. . . ] during population expansion, small founder groups are expected to car...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Listeners can understand talkers despite cross-talker variability in the mapping from phonetic cues to linguistic categories. The mechanisms that underlie this adaptive ability are not well understood. We test to what extent listeners can adapt their interpretation of speech based on the distribution of phonetic cues in the recent input, and whethe...
Article
Full-text available
Exposure to unfamiliar non-native speech tends to improve comprehension. One hypothesis holds that listeners adapt to non-native-accented speech through distributional learning—by inferring the statistics of the talker's phonetic cues. Models based on this hypothesis provide a good fit to incremental changes after exposure to atypical native speech...
Article
Full-text available
A central component of sentence understanding is verb-argument interpretation, determining how the referents in the sentence are related to the events or states expressed by the verb. Previous work has found that comprehenders change their argument interpretations incrementally as the sentence unfolds, based on morphosyntactic (e.g., case, agreemen...
Article
Full-text available
Speech perception depends on the ability to generalize previously experienced input effectively across talkers. How such cross-talker generalization is achieved has remained an open question. In a seminal study, Bradlow & Bent (2008, henceforth BB08) found that exposure to just five minutes of accented speech can elicit improved recognition that ge...
Preprint
Speech perception depends on the ability to generalize previously experienced input effectively across talkers. How such cross-talker generalization is achieved has remained an open question. In a seminal study, Bradlow & Bent (2008, henceforth BB08) found that exposure to just five minutes of accented speech can elicit improved recognition that ge...
Article
Full-text available
Implicit expectations play a central role in sentence processing. These expectations are often assumed to be static or change only at relatively slow time scales. Some theoretical proposals, however, hold that comprehenders continuously adapt their expectations based on recent input. Existing evidence has relied heavily on self-paced reading, which...
Article
Full-text available
Language understanding requires the integration of the input with preceding context. Event-related potentials (ERPs) have contributed significantly to our understanding of what contextual information is accessed and when. Much of this research has, however, been limited to experimenter-designed stimuli with highly atypical lexical and context stati...
Article
Full-text available
Foreign-accented speech of second language learners is often difficult to understand for native listeners of that language. Part of this difficulty has been hypothesized to be caused by increased within-category variability of non-native speech. However, until recently, there have been few direct tests for this hypothesis. The realization of vowels...
Article
Perceptual recalibration allows listeners to adapt to talker-specific pronunciations, such as atypical realizations of specific sounds. Such recalibration can facilitate robust speech recognition. However, indiscriminate recalibration following any atypically pronounced words also risks interpreting pronunciations as characteristic of a talker that...
Article
The idea that human languages have properties suitable for efficient communication has permeated linguistic theorizing. Indirect correlational support for this idea has come from cross-linguistic synchronic and diachronic data. However, direct causal tests have been lacking. We directly test whether biases operating during language learning can cau...
Article
Full-text available
When adults learn new languages, their speech often remains noticeably non-native even after years of exposure. These non-native variants ('accents') can have far-reaching socio-economic consequences for learners. Many factors have been found to contribute to a learners' proficiency in the new language. Here we examine a factor that is outside of t...
Poster
Full-text available
Pronunciations of word-final dental-stops of a beginning L2 learner of Swedish with Flemish L1, produced unassisted or through mimicking a native speaker are examined. Pronunciation is analysed along three phonetic dimensions known to cue voicing: vowel, closure, and burst durations.
Article
Full-text available
Listeners integrate acoustic and contextual cues during word recognition. However, experiments investigating this integration disrupt natural cue correlations. It was investigated whether changes in correlational structure affect listeners' relative cue weightings. Two groups of participants engaged in a word recognition task. In one group, acousti...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We compare native (L1) and non-native (L2) word-final plosive voicing in Swedish. The L1 of the L2 speaker (Flemish) does not have word-final plosive voicing contrasts. In order to assess the effectiveness of a common approach to L2 instruction, L2 speech was elicited under two conditions: either unassisted or by playing an example L1 production an...
Article
Full-text available
Native language (L1) processing draws on implicit expectations. An open question is whether non-native learners of a second language (L2) similarly draw on expectations, and whether these expectations are based on learners’ L1 or L2 knowledge. We approach this question by studying inverse preference effects on lexical encoding. L1 and L2 speakers o...
Preprint
Based on a diverse and complementary set of theoretical and empirical findings, we describe an approach to phonology in which sound patterns are shaped by the trade-off between biases supporting message transmission accuracy and resource cost. We refer to this approach as Message-Oriented Phonology. The evidence suggests that these biases influence...
Preprint
Implicit expectations play a crucial role during language processing. These expectations are often assumed to be static once acquired, or to change only at relatively slow time scales.Some theoretical proposals, however, hold that comprehenders continuously adapt their expectations based on recent input, and that this adaptation underlies phenomena...
Article
Full-text available
In English, nasal place assimilation occurs across word boundaries, such as 'ten bucks 'pronounced as 'te[m] bucks'. Assimilation can be viewed as a reduction or loss of the assimilation target’s place cue (/n/ in 'ten'), and simultaneously as an enhancement of the assimilation trigger’s place cue (/b/ in 'bucks') by spreading its place cue earlier...
Article
A diverse set of empirical findings indicate that word predictability in context influences the fine-grained details of both speech production and comprehension. In particular, lower predictability relative to similar competitors tends to be associated with phonetic enhancement, while higher predictability is associated with phonetic reduction. We...
Article
Full-text available
It has long been noted that language production seems to reflect a correlation between message redundancy and signal reduction. More frequent words and contextually predictable instances of words, for example, tend to be produced with shorter and less clear signals. The same tendency is observed in the language code (e.g. the phonological lexicon),...
Article
Full-text available
Speech understanding can be thought of as inferring progressively more abstract representations from a rapidly unfolding signal. One common view of this process holds that lower-level information is discarded as soon as higher-level units have been inferred. However, there is evidence that subcategorical information about speech percepts is not imm...
Data
Analyzing subtitle benefits and strategies. (DOCX)
Data
Experimental controls. (DOCX)
Data
Post-test survey questionnaire. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
How fast can listeners adapt to unfamiliar foreign accents? Clarke and Garrett [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 116, 3647–3658 (2004)] (CG04) reported that native-English listeners adapted to foreign-accented English within a minute, demonstrating improved processing of spoken words. In two web-based experiments that closely follow the design of CG04, the effe...
Article
Full-text available
Social and linguistic perceptions are linked. On one hand, talker identity affects speech perception. On the other hand, speech itself provides information about a talker's identity. Here, we propose that the same probabilistic knowledge might underlie both socially conditioned linguistic inferences and linguistically conditioned social inferences....
Article
One of the central challenges in speech perception is the lack of invariance: talkers differ in how they map words onto the speech signal. Previous work has shown that one mechanism by which listeners overcome this variability is adaptation. However, talkers differ in how they pronounce words for a number of reasons, ranging from more permanent, ch...
Presentation
Full-text available
Much research suggests that principles of language processing and communication to some extent affect how grammars evolve over time (e.g., Futrell et al. 2015; Hawkins 2007). However, there are different views on how these principles operate. Some have proposed specific linguistic biases—such a preference for interpreting the initial NP as the subj...
Article
Full-text available
Human languages exhibit both striking diversity and abstract commonalities. Whether these commonalities are shaped by potentially universal principles of human information processing has been of central interest in the language and psychological sciences. Research has identified one such abstract property in the domain of word order: Although sente...
Chapter
Full-text available
Speakers can produce utterances with more or less articulatory detail or even completely omit certain words, while still conveying the same message. Similar reduction exists at higher levels of linguistic representation, allowing—in the appropriate context—the omission of entire words or even phrases without loss of (near) meaning-equivalence. Such...
Preprint
Full-text available
The extent to which language processing involves prediction of upcoming inputs remains a question of ongoing debate. One important data point comes from DeLong et al. (2005) who reported that an N400-like event-related potential correlated with a probabilistic index of upcoming input. This result is often cited as evidence for gradient probabilisti...
Article
Full-text available
Is motion cognition influenced by the large-scale typological patterns proposed in Talmy's (2000) two-way distinction between verb-framed (V) and satellite-framed (S) languages Previous studies investigating this question have been limited to comparing two or three languages at a time and have come to conflicting results. We present the largest cro...
Article
Full-text available
The fundamental problem of communication is that of reproducing at one point either exactly or approximately a message selected at another point. Abstract * Based on a diverse and complementary set of theoretical and empirical findings, we describe an approach to phonology in which sound patterns are shaped by the trade-off between biases supportin...
Article
Full-text available
Forming an accurate representation of a task environment often takes place incrementally as the information relevant to learning the representation only unfolds over time. This incremental nature of learning poses an important problem: it is usually unclear whether a sequence of stimuli consists of only a single pattern, or multiple patterns that a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Speech perception is made much harder by variability between talkers. As a result, listeners need to adapt to each different talker's particular acoustic cue distributions. Thinking of this adaptation as a form of statistical inference, we explore the role that listeners' prior expectations play in adapting to an unfamiliar talker. Specifically, we...
Article
Full-text available
Some sociolinguistic variables are prone to hypercorrection, stigmatization and style shifting, while other variables are not. The status of the former type—sometimes called stereotypes and markers (Labov, 1972)—has been attributed to the increased meta-linguistic awareness language users seem to have of these variables. This awareness in turn is a...
Article
Growing evidence suggests that syntactic processing may be guided in part by expectations about the statistics of the input that comprehenders have encountered; however, these statistics and even the syntactic structures themselves vary from situation to situation. Some recent work suggests that readers can adapt to variability in the frequencies o...
Article
Recently processed syntactic information is likely to play a fundamental role in online sentence comprehension. For example, there is now a good deal of evidence that the processing of a syntactic structure (the target) is facilitated if the same structure was processed on the immediately preceding trial (the prime), a phenomenon known as structura...
Article
We present a framework of second and additional language (L2/Ln) acquisition motivated by recent work on socio-indexical knowledge in first language (L1) processing. The distribution of linguistic categories covaries with socio-indexical variables (e.g., talker identity, gender, dialects). We summarize evidence that implicit probabilistic knowledge...
Article
Full-text available
Across languages of the world, some grammatical patterns have been argued to be more common than expected by chance. These are sometimes referred to as (statistical) language universals. One such universal is the correlation between constituent order freedom and the presence of a case system in a language. Here, we explore whether this correlation...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the capacity for targeted hyperarticulation of contextually-relevant contrasts. Participants communicated target words with final /s/ or /z/ when a voicing minimal-pair (e.g., target dose, minimal-pair doze) either was or was not available as an alternative in the context. The results indicate that talkers enhance the durati...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates the capacity for targeted hyperarticulation of contextually-relevant contrasts. Participants communicated target words with final /s/ or /z/ when a voicing minimal-pair (e.g., target dose, minimal-pair doze) either was or was not available as an alternative in the context. The results indicate that talkers enhance the durati...
Article
Full-text available
Christiansen & Chater (C&C) propose that language comprehenders must immediately compress perceptual data by “chunking” them into higher-level categories. Effective language understanding, however, requires maintaining perceptual information long enough to integrate it with downstream cues. Indeed, recent results suggest comprehenders do this. Alth...
Chapter
Full-text available
As observed by linguist Joseph Greenberg (Greenberg 1963), languages across the world seem to share properties at all levels of linguistic organization. Some of these patterns are regularities in the crosslinguistic distribution of elements that hold across languages (non-implicational universals1). For example, sentential subjects almost always pr...
Article
Full-text available
When a listener hears many good examples of a /b/ in a row, they are less likely to classify other sounds on, e.g., a /b/-to-/d/ continuum as /b/. This phenomenon is known as selective adaptation and is a well-studied property of speech perception. Traditionally, selective adaptation is seen as a mechanistic property of the speech perception system...
Article
Full-text available
The number of phonological neighbours to a word (PND) can affect its lexical planning and pronunciation. Similar parallel effects on planning and articulation have been observed for other lexical variables, such as a word's contextual predictability. Such parallelism is frequently taken to indicate that effects on articulation are mediated by effec...
Article
Full-text available
We consider several key aspects of prediction in language comprehension: its computational nature, the representational level(s) at which we predict, whether we use higher-level representations to predictively pre-activate lower level representations, and whether we “commit” in any way to our predictions, beyond pre-activation. We argue that the bu...
Article
Full-text available
Recent years have seen a small but growing body of psycholinguistic research focused on typologically diverse languages. This represents an important development for the field, where theorising is still largely guided by the often implicit assumption of universality. This paper introduces a special issue of Language, Cognition and Neuroscience devo...
Article
Full-text available
Most languages use the relative order between words to encode meaning relations. Languages differ, however, in what orders they use and how these orders are mapped onto different meanings. We test the hypothesis that, despite these differences, human languages might constitute different `solutions' to common pressures of language use. Using Monte C...
Research
Full-text available
Human listeners bring a great deal of prior experience with different talkers to bear when adapting to an unfamiliar talker. Previously, Bayesian belief-updating models have provided a good account of how listeners incremental update their beliefs about a new talker. But these models require assumptions about _what_ listeners believe a new talker w...
Article
Full-text available
Grammatical encoding is one of the earliest stages in linguistic encoding. One broadly accepted view holds that grammatical encoding is primarily or exclusively affected by production ease, rather than communicative considerations. This contrasts with proposals that speakers' preferences during grammatical encoding reflect a trade-off between produ...
Article
Full-text available
There is now considerable evidence that human sentence processing is expectation based: As people read a sentence, they use their statistical experience with their language to generate predictions about upcoming syntactic structure. This study examines how sentence processing is affected by readers' uncertainty about those expectations. In a self-p...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Speech perception requires ongoing perceptual category learning. Each talker speaks differently, and listeners need to learn each talker's particular acoustic cue distributions in order to comprehend speech robustly from multiple talkers. This pho-netic adaptation is a semi-supervised learning problem, because sometimes a particular cue value occur...
Research
Full-text available
When a listener hears many good examples of a /b/ in a row, they are less likely to classify other sounds on, e.g., a /b/-to-/d/ continuum as /b/. This phenomenon is known as selective adaptation and is a well-studied property of speech perception. Traditionally, selective adaptation is seen as a mechanistic property of the speech perception system...