Cynthia G. Clopper

Associate Professor
Department of Linguistics
Ohio State University

110A Ohio Stadium East
Phone: (614) 292-8235
Fax: (614) 292-8833
clopper.1 AT


108A Ohio Stadium East
1961 Tuttle Park Place
Columbus OH 43210


Office Hours (Spring 2017):
Wednesdays 2:30-4:30pm and by appointment

Recent Publications

COSI Pod IRB Information

Research Projects
Effects of Linguistic and Indexical Sources of Variation on Speech Processing
My primary research interest is the role of variation in spoken language 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 and semantic context, 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 and the new Ohio State Stories Corpus.

Perception of Socio-Indexical Information Across 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 as young as four years old. Our research uses explicit classification, language attitudes, and cross-dialect intelligibility tasks to explore when children perceive and interpret information in the acoustic speech signal to make judgments about social categories, such as region of origin, and how the perception of regional dialect variation changes over the course of the lifespan. The results of this project are available on the ORDDR Project website. (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 prosody 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-meaning 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 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.

Arts and Sciences 1138, First-Year Seminar (Recent Topic: The Long and the Short of It: What Word Duration Tells Us about Language)
Linguistics 2051(H), Analyzing the Sounds of Language
Linguistics 4100, Introduction to Phonetics
Linguistics 5051, Quantitative Methods in Linguistics
Linguistics 5101, Phonetic Theory
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)
Linguistics 8300, Seminar in Phonology (Recent Topic: Exemplar-Theoretic Representation in Phonetics and Phonology)

Recent Publications
Clopper, C. G., & Walker, A. (2017). Effects of lexical competition and dialect exposure on phonological priming. Language and Speech, 60, 85-109.

Clopper, C. G. (2017). Dialect interference in lexical processing: Effects of familiarity and social stereotypes. Phonetica, 74, 25-59.

Clopper, C. G., Mitsch, J. F., & Tamati, T. N. (2017). Effects of phonetic reduction and regional dialect on vowel production. Journal of Phonetics, 60, 38-59.

Jones, Z., Yan, Q., Wagner, L., & Clopper, C. G. (2017). The development of dialect classification across the lifespan. Journal of Phonetics, 60, 20-37.

Adi, Y., Keshet, J., Cibelli, E., Gustafson, E., Clopper, C., & Goldrick, M. (2016). Automatic measurement of vowel duration via structured prediction. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140, 4517-4527.

Clopper, C. G., Tamati, T. N., & Pierrehumbert, J. B. (2016). Variation in the strength of lexical encoding across dialects. Journal of Phonetics, 58, 87-103.

McCullough, E. A., & Clopper, C. G. (2016). Auditory free classification of words and syllables in native and non-native English. Journal of Phonetics, 55, 19-37.

Burdin, R. S., Phillips-Bourass, S., Turnbull, R., Yasavul, M., Clopper, C. G., & Tonhauser, J. (2015). Variation in the prosody of focus in head- and head/edge-prominence languages. Lingua, 165, 254-276.

Clopper, C. G., & Smiljanic, R. (2015). Regional variation in temporal organization in American English. Journal of Phonetics, 49, 1-15.

Turnbull, R., Burdin, R. S., Clopper, C. G., & Tonhauser, J. (2015). Contextual information and the prosodic realisation of focus: A cross-linguistic comparison. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 30, 1061-1076.

Wagner, L., Speer, S. R., Moore, L. C., McCullough, E. A., Ito, K., Clopper, C. G., & Campbell-Kibler, K. (2015). Linguistics in a science museum: Integrating research, teaching, and outreach at the Language Sciences Research Lab. Language and Linguistics Compass, 9, 420-431.

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.

Short Bio
Cynthia G. Clopper received a B.A. in Linguistics and Russian from Duke University in 1999, an M.A. in Linguistics from Indiana University in 2001, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from Indiana University in 2004. She spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher in Psychology at Indiana University and one year as a postdoctoral fellow in Linguistics at Northwestern University, both funded by the National Institutes of Health, before joining the faculty at Ohio State in 2006. Her major areas of expertise are phonetics, speech perception, sociophonetics, and laboratory phonology. She has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America and the Journal of Phonetics.

Current CV (updated 9/1/16)

Non-Academic Interests
When I'm not doing research, I enjoy traveling. My most recent travel adventures have taken me to Glasgow, Aix-en-Provence, and Maine.

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.