Cynthia G. Clopper

Associate Professor
Department of Linguistics

Associate Director
Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences


Oxley Hall 24C
Phone: (614) 292-8235
Fax: (614) 292-8833
clopper.1 AT

Oxley Hall 222
1712 Neil Avenue
Columbus OH 43210


Office Hours (Fall 2014):
Mondays 1:30-3:30pm
and by appointment

General IRB Information
COSI Pod IRB Information

Selected Publications (Full CV)

Research Projects
The central theme of my research program is variation in spoken language processing. I explore this theme from a number of perspectives, including both linguistic and social sources of variation and both speech perception and production.

Effects of Linguistic and Indexical Sources of Variation on Speech Processing
One branch of my work in this area, supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS 1056409), explores the interaction between phonetic reduction, dialect variation, and linguistic sources of variation, including lexical competition, semantic context, and speaking style, in speech production and perception. The other branch examines the effects of experience with linguistic variation on cross-dialect speech perception and processing. Many of my experiments involve speech samples from The Nationwide Speech Project Corpus.

Perception of Dialect Variation throughout the Lifespan
In collaboration with Dr. Laura Wagner in the Department of Psychology at Ohio State, I have extended my earlier work on perceptual dialect classification to children and older adults. Our research uses classification, discrimination, and language attitudes tasks to explore the trajectory of development of sociolinguistic competence throughout the lifespan. (Partially supported by a Seed Grant from the Ohio State Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences.)

Prosodic Variation in American English
In collaboration with Dr. Rajka Smiljanic in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas, I am working on an examination of regional prosodic variation in American English, including intonation and temporal organization. (Partially supported by a Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women Faculty Grant.)

The Prosody of Focus in Un(der)-described Languages
In collaboration with Dr. Judith Tonhauser in the Department of Linguistics at Ohio State, I am exploring the effect of contextual information on the prosodic realization of focus in Paraguayan Guarani, Moroccan Arabic, and K'iche' Mayan. Paraguayan Guarani, Morocccan Arabic, and K'iche' Mayan are typologically diverse with respect to their prosodic structure and therefore provide the opportunity to extend the description and theoretical treatment of focus and the prosody-semantics interface to non-Germanic languages. (Partially supported by the Ohio State Office of International Affairs and the Ohio State College of Arts and Sciences Targeted Investment in Excellence.)

Research Opportunities for Undergraduates
Undergraduate research assistants are always welcome in Cynthia Clopper's Speech Perception Lab. Students can earn credit in Linguistics 4998(H) (Undergraduate Research) for work in the lab. Paid positions are also sometimes available. Students do not need to be a linguistics major to work in the lab, but some coursework in linguistics or a related field (speech and hearing science, psychology, cognitive science) is preferred. If you are interested in working on any of the projects described above, please contact Cynthia Clopper to discuss research opportunities.

Linguistics 2051(H), Analyzing the Sounds of Language
Linguistics 4100, Introduction to Phonetics
Linguistics 5051, Quantitative Methods in Linguistics
Linguistics 5102, Laboratory Phonology
Linguistics 7890.03, Phonetics and Phonology Discussion Group (Phonies)
Linguistics 8100, Seminar in Phonetics (Recent Topics: Talker Variability, Second Language Phonetics and Phonology, Prosody and Meaning)

Selected Publications
Clopper, C. G. (2014). Sound change in the individual: Effects of exposure on cross-dialect speech processing. Laboratory Phonology, 5, 69-90.

Clopper, C. G., & Tamati, T. N. (2014). Effects of local lexical competition and regional dialect on vowel production. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 136, 1-4.

Wagner, L., Clopper, C. G., & Pate, J. (2014). Children's perception of regional dialect variation. Journal of Child Language, 41, 1062-1084.

Clopper, C. G., Rohrbeck, K. L., & Wagner, L. (2013). Perception of talker age by young adults with high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 134-146.

Clopper, C. G., & Tonhauser, J. (2013). The prosody of focus in Paraguayan Guarani. International Journal of American Linguistics, 79, 219-251.

Clopper, C. G. (2012). Effects of dialect variation on the semantic predictability benefit. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27, 1002-1020.

Clopper, C. G., Rohrbeck, K. L., & Wagner, L. (2012). Perception of dialect variation by young adults with high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 740-754.

Clopper, C. G., & Smiljanic, R. (2011). Effects of gender and regional dialect on prosodic patterns in American English. Journal of Phonetics, 39, 237-245.

Clopper, C. G., Pierrehumbert, J. B., & Tamati, T. N. (2010). Lexical neighborhoods and phonological confusability in cross-dialect word recognition in noise. Laboratory Phonology, 1, 65-92.

Clopper, C. G., & Bradlow, A. R. (2009). Free classification of American English dialects by native and non-native listeners. Journal of Phonetics, 37, 436-451.

Clopper, C. G. (2008). Auditory free classification: Methods and analysis. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 575-581.

Clopper, C. G., & Bradlow, A. R. (2008). Perception of dialect variation in noise: Intelligibility and classification. Language and Speech, 51, 175-198.

Clopper, C. G., & Pierrehumbert, J. B. (2008). Effects of semantic predictability and regional dialect on vowel space reduction. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 124, 1682-1688.

Clopper, C. G., & Pisoni, D. B. (2007). Free classification of regional dialects of American English. Journal of Phonetics, 35, 421-438.

Clopper, C. G., & Pisoni, D. B. (2006). Effects of region of origin and geographic mobility on perceptual dialect categorization. Language Variation and Change, 18, 193-221.

Clopper, C. G., & Pisoni, D. B. (2006). The Nationwide Speech Project: A new corpus of American English dialects. Speech Communication, 48, 633-644.

Clopper, C. G., Pisoni, D. B., & de Jong, K. (2005). Acoustic characteristics of the vowel systems of six regional varieties of American English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 118, 1661-1676.

Clopper, C. G., & Pisoni, D. B. (2004). Some acoustic cues for the perceptual categorization of American English regional dialects. Journal of Phonetics, 32, 111-140.

Non-Academic Interests
When I'm not doing research, I enjoy traveling. My most recent travel adventures have taken me to France, Germany, and Denmark.

I'm also a college basketball junkie. I follow Duke basketball with a passion, but I'll watch pretty much any game at the college level.