Benjamin Storme

I am a fifth year PhD student in Linguistics at MIT. My research focuses on phonology and phonetics, and in particular on questions related to:

I address these questions using theories developed in formal linguistics (constraint-based grammars, in particular) and data obtained through production and perception experiments.

An important theme of my work is to derive cross-linguistics tendencies in patterns of neutralization and allophony from tradeoffs between conflicting communicative goals (e.g. minimizing articulatory effort vs. minimizing sound confusability). In my ongoing dissertation, I study the phonetic motivation for the pattern of closed-syllable vowel laxing. I propose that vowel laxing is a strategy to enhance coda consonant place features and improve consonant auditory dispersion. Three papers related to this project can be found here, here, and here.

I also have interests in learnability and language contacts in phonology. I have worked on the learning of free variation in OT (with Giorgio Magri), on loanword adaptation in Vietnamese (with Yoonjung Kang and Andrea Hòa Phạm), and on the adaptation of French liquids in Haitian Creole.