I’m a Ph.D candidate in Concordia University, Montreal, researching the computational nature and biological basis of Phonology as a cognitive ability. Here I’m supervised by Prof. Charles Reiss (Principal), Prof. Mark Hale and Prof. Alan Bale from Linguistics, as well as Prof. Roberto de Almeida from Psychology. My research is carried out under the umbrella of the INDI individualized doctorate program, in the form of an interdisciplinary investigation of the computational nature of our Language Faculty, specifically the sound domain, using both formal/mathematical and empirical tools. I’m supported by the Louise Dandurand Scholarship in Interdisciplinary Studies & the International Graduate Tuition Excellence Award.
I am interested in a whole range of related things, but at their centre are the issues that Noam Chomsky raises in Things No Amount of Learning Can Teach! What kind of knowledge is encoded in our genes, and how do they constrain our development? It is a given fact that we are animals, and like all animals we are very rigidly constrained in things that our brains can, and cannot, make sense of. What are those limits, especially with regard to our cognitive and linguistic abilities?
Currently I am working on interface issues concerning phonetic substance and phonological primitives. I adopt a mathematical set theoretic approach to phonological theory advocated by Bale and Reiss (2018), Logical Phonology, and argue that a wide range of linguistic phenomena that provide evidence for Moreton’s (2008) ‘analytic bias’ in grammar can be elegantly accounted for within a framework that views phonological processes as purely formal logical operations defined over algebraic variables that proceed irrespective of phonetic substance. Crucially, this framework does not deny the non-arbitrary correlations between features and their phonetic realizations, but rather that such lawful correlations are not taken into account during the computation of phonological processes. In other words, the ‘input to’ and ‘output of’ of phonological computations are both discrete symbolic systems. The ‘output of’ phonology, the SR, is related to its phonetic realization(s) via a system of transductive interfaces. The transduction process takes the discrete symbolic SR as its input and assigns to the output temporal and neuro-skeletal information that are legible to the sensory-motor systems, thus enabling speech processing.