Curriculum Vita

Thomas C. Veatch, Ph.D.


An academically-oriented, May, 1993, document


University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. in Linguistics. 1984--1991.
Dissertation: ``English Vowels: Their Surface Phonology and Phonetic Implementation in Vernacular Dialects.'' Thesis committee: Mark Liberman (superviser), William Labov, and Richard Janda. Contains a novel theory of vowel acoustics, a generative analysis of the English vowel system, a number of innovations in computational analysis methods, and both phonetic and phonological analyses of the pronunciation of vowels in conversational speech in four vernacular dialects (Jamaican English Creole, Chicago White English, Los Angeles Chicano English, and Alabama White English), with special attention to acoustical vowel targets, vowel reduction, and coarticulatory/allophonic effects.

Stanford University, B.A. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science, with Distinction. 1979--1984.

Academic Positions, Fellowships, Scholarships

Visiting Assistant Professor, Stanford University 1st Mellon Fellowship awarded in Linguistics in 13 years. Official duties are to teach two classes per year. These include Sociophonetics, an introduction to research methods, results, and theoretical issues in socio-linguistic work on phonetic and phonological variation; Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, an undergraduate class covering general linguistic phonetics, articulatory and acoustic description of speech sounds, phonetic transcription, phonological theory, phonological problem-solving; The Study of Language Variation, an introduction to variation theory and to quantitative and experimental methods in linguistics, statistical methods; Laboratory and Acoustic Phonetics, on acoustic phonetics and on technical skills necessary for computer-based acoustic phonetic research.

Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Phonetics. Graduate level class, Linguistics 520, 521, under Mark Liberman. Taught classes on computer use, impressionistic transcription, mathematics related to signal processing, vowel acoustics.

Research Assistant. Set up the new Phonetics Lab at Penn, developed software for teaching and research.

Spring 1990
Linguistics Department Fellowship. Support for thesis research.

Fall 1989
Instructor, Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Undergraduate level class, CGS Linguistics 160, in dialectology, Labovian socio- linguistics, languages-in-contact (bilingualism, code-switching, pidgins and creoles), cross-cultural (mis-)communication, discourse analysis.

National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. 3 years of tuition and stipend, used over a period of 5 years.

Research Assistant. NSF-sponsored project on Cross-Dialectal Comprehension, directed by William Labov. Investigated the perceptual consequences of sound change by designing, producing, conducting, and analysing results of experiments on phonetic perception using resynthesized (formant-modified) and gated vernacular speech.

Summer 1986
``Language in the U.S.A.'' Fellow. Tuition Fellowship at the LSA Summer Institute, Stanford University.

Fellowship, Advanced Hindi Language Training Program, American Institute of Indian Studies, New Delhi.

Fall, 1983
Teaching Assistant for a graduate course in set theory, predicate calculus, and mathematical models relevant to the study of syntax and semantics, under Stanley Peters. Stanford University.

National Merit Scholar.


English Vowels: Their Surface Phonology and Phonetic Implementation
in Vernacular Dialects.

Competitively Reviewed Conference Papers

A theory of humor.
Paper presented at the Speech Communication Association Seminar on Humor and Communication, Chicago, October 28, 1992. An expanded version is in preparation for submission to Psychological Review.

Racial barriers and phonological merger.
Paper presented at the conference on New Ways of Analysing Variation in English (NWAVE-XXI), at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, October 16, 1992. Revised version has been submitted to Language Variation and Change, 11/92.

/l/ and /ng/ effects on vowel nuclei in four dialects.
Paper presented at the spring meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Salt Lake City, May 1992.

The English Glide Slot.
Paper presented at the winter meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Philadelphia. January 1992.

The Segmental Conditioning of Sound Change.
Paper presented at the conference on New Ways of Analysing Variation in English (NWAVE-XX), at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. October 1991.

An Acoustical Study of Jamaican Creole Vowels.
Paper presented at the 1990 conference on New Ways of Analysing Variation in English (NWAVE-XIX), Philadelphia. October 1990.

Low Vowels and Velar Stops in Jamaican Creole.
(with Peter Patrick). Paper presented at the 1990 conference on New Ways of Analysing Variation (NWAV-XIX), Philadelphia. October 1990.

Word-Final Devoicing of Fricatives in English.
Paper presented at the winter meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Washington, D.C. December 1989. An expanded version will be submitted to the Journal of Phonetics.

Pidgin/Creole Phonology: Tok Pisin Consonants in Speech.
Paper given at the 18th Penn Linguistics Colloquium. February 1988. Published in the Proceedings of 18th Penn Linguistics Colloquium, 1988.

On the Discontinuous Constituency of Parenthetical Clauses.
Paper presented at the 15th Penn Linguistics Colloquium. March 1985.

Invited Papers, Presentations, Seminars

Phonetics and phonology in two related sound changes.
Invited presentation at the workshop on Phonetic Implementation-the C/D model, at the LSA Linguistic Institute, Ohio State University, July 1993.

On variable rules and phonetic rules.
Invited paper presented at the Workshop on Sound Change, February 15, 1993, at Stanford University, organized by Paul Kiparsky.

Hidden Markov Models and Stochastic Context-Free Grammars:
Theory and model-fitting methods. Two invited seminars at the Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, February 4, 11, 1993.

The Phonology and Phonetics of Vowels in Jamaican Creole.
Invited talk given at the Phonology Lab Colloquium at the University of California at Berkeley, October 1991. Also given at the Linguistics Department Colloquium at CSLI, Stanford University, October 1991.

The Surface Phonology of the English Vowel System.
Invited talk given at the Berkeley/Stanford Phonology Workshop, held at Stanford University, September 1991.

Vowel Formant Modification Experiments
Report of the Project on Cross-Dialectal Comprehension. Invited Paper presented at NWAV-XVII, Montreal. October 1988.

Contextual Gating Experiments:
Report of the Project on Cross-Dialectal Comprehension. (with William Labov). Invited Paper presented at NWAV-XVII, Montreal. October 1988.


Computer Experience

General Unix programming: C, csh, awk, sed, egrep, perl, X11, Xview, postscript, LaTeX.

Unix system administration: hard disk installation, computer memory expansion, DSP accelerator installation, general account creation and maintenance, filesystem maintenance, installation of new software packages and updates, some minor kernel modification, etc., mostly on Sun 4 workstations.

Macintosh platform experience: Hypercard-based teaching programs, Excel, Word, Systat.

IBM-PC platform experience: Windows, Turbo C, BASIC.

Speech and audio software: ESPS/waves+, HTK Hidden Markov Model Toolkit, Sun audio i/o programming, some use of some Macintosh audio programs.

Programming languages: C, FORTRAN, BASIC, Pascal, Hypertalk, S, MINITAB, perl, awk.

Years of experience: C, Unix, and Sun workstation experience since 1983 (10 yrs), IBM PC experience since 1984 (9 yrs), Apple Macintosh experience since 1986 (7 yrs), computational phonetics since 1984 (9 yrs).

Software projects:


Professional Societies

Linguistic Society of America
Acoustical Society of America
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
American Dialect Society

Speech Science Research Overview

Veatch's research has investigated the physical, mental, and social aspects of the sound system of human language. His dissertation, directed by Mark Liberman and William Labov, explores aspects of the phonetic implementation system, including a theory of the acoustic phonetics of vowels, a treatment of the post-lexical phonological structure of a reference American dialect of English, and a number of phonological and acoustic-phonetic investigations of the mapping from sound structure to measurable acoustic form in language production. His large-scale acoustical studies are innovative in a number of ways. Rather than studying elicited reading passages or other relatively artificial forms of speech, the data is natural conversation. Several dialects are studied: Jamaica, Los Angeles Chicano, Chicago, and Alabama. The vowel systems in natural speech are characterized acoustically and compared across dialects. Exhaustive analysis of a conversation, measuring thousands of vowels per speaker, enables the effects of stress and of consonant context on vowel pronunciation to be quantitatively characterized. Differences in phonetic processes are used to establish the existence of a phonetic component of linguistic structure; a number of processes or patterns characteristic of this level of grammar are explored.

Veatch's pre-dissertation research investigated perception of speech across dialects using both natural (gated) and modified-and-resynthesized speech forms in perception experiments. He also explored the patterns of a very common yet largely unknown phonetic process of English, word-final fricative devoicing. He studied the differences in speech production between native and non-native speakers in a newly-creolizing pidgin in New Guinea, and he carried out experiments on the perception of rapid speech sounds. He has also worked on applying the techniques of automatic speech recognition to problems in speech research.

Veatch's post-thesis research has followed up on his thesis work on the structure of the English vowel system, and on the theory of vowel acoustics. He has added evidence supporting the hypothesis of on-going historical linguistic divergence between African-American and white dialects in the U.S. through a study of the low-back vowel merger in California. He has done preliminary work on the development of a grammar or model of acoustic-phonetic durational patterning, and on applying these modelling techniques to questions of dialectal and stylistic variation. He has studied the phonetics, phonology, and sociolinguistics of the on-going historical change of a consonant, /l/, to a vowel sound, in various dialects including that of the African-American English Vernacular and that of Utah.

In an unrelated line of research, Veatch developed a theory of the psychological phenomenon of humor, which was well-recieved at a recent conference on humor and the write-up for which has been accepted for publication by Humor, the Journal of the International Society of Humor Research, from Mouton.