Kathleen Hall

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Research Interests

Laboratory Phonology

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Research Methodology

Articulation (ultrasound)
Corpus-based research


Master's students
Doctoral students
Any time / year round
I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.

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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Post-stop fundamental frequency perturbation in production and perception of Mandarin stop voicing (2022)

This dissertation examines how Mandarin-dominant Mandarin-English bilinguals use post-stop fundamental frequency (F0) in the production and perception of the stop voicing contrast in Mandarin and English. Their use of post-stop F0 is then compared with that of native English speakers. Additionally, the influence of cognitive load on the use of post-stop F0 is investigated. Along with cross-linguistic differences in the use of post-stop F0, this work foregrounds variability within participants and explores the production-perception interface on an individual level. A corpus study and a set of parallel online production and perception experiments were devised. The results from the corpus study indicated that post-stop F0 following aspirated stops was lower than that following unaspirated stops in Mandarin. However, the data from the production experiment, in which the bilinguals read aloud words typifying the voicing contrast in stops, suggested the opposite pattern in both Mandarin and English. Furthermore, the post-stop F0 difference in English was larger as compared to Mandarin, indicating that more production weight was assigned to post-stop F0 in English than in Mandarin. The data from the perception experiment, which featured a forced-choice task, showed that the bilinguals used post-stop F0 as a cue in perceiving stops in both English and Mandarin, with higher post-stop F0 leading to more aspirated/voiceless responses, but they allocated more weight to post-stop F0 when the audio stimuli were presented as English words than as Mandarin words. When the bilinguals' post-stop F0 weights for English were compared with those of native English speakers, however, an asymmetry was revealed: even though both groups shared similar production weights, English listeners still had a higher perceptual weight than the bilinguals. With respect to cognitive load, which was induced by a concurrent visual search task, it seemed to introduce more variability to the perceptual weights, but only for English listeners. Overall, these results argue for a dual function of F0 in cueing phonological voicing in stops and tones across modalities in Mandarin. Furthermore, they suggest a dynamic nature of the post-stop F0 cue, which adapts to different language contexts, though this adaptability is constrained by the first language.

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Perception of lexical tones by homeland and heritage speakers of Cantonese (2019)

This dissertation compares the lexical tone perception abilities of two populations with different bilingual configurations: Cantonese-dominant adults who grew up in Hong Kong (referred to as homeland speakers), and English-dominant adults who grew up in a Cantonese-speaking household in Canada (heritage speakers). From infancy both were exposed to Cantonese as a first language in terms of chronological order; however, after the onset of schooling, each became dominant in the majority language of their respective society. Given this background, this study investigates whether heritage speakers' perception of lexical tones of a non-dominant first language (Cantonese) exhibits cross-language effects from a dominant second language (English) that does not have a contrastive dimension of tone. A series of perception experiments was conducted using the word identification paradigm. Eight types of audio stimuli were presented to homeland and heritage speakers (N=34 per group), each of which represented a specific configuration of four variables: whether the acoustic signal contained segmental and tonal information, whether the target word was isolated or embedded in a carrier sentence with semantic context, and whether the meaning of the target word was congruous with the carrier sentence. In each trial, participants saw pictures of the target word and minimally contrastive tonal competitors, and were instructed to choose the picture that represented what they heard.Major findings of this study were: (1) among the eight stimulus types, the accuracy gap between the two groups was the biggest when the stimuli were low-pass-filtered monosyllables with no segmental information or semantic context, which suggests that homeland speakers have a significantly greater ability to identify tonally contrastive words by solely relying on tonal information. (2) Both groups showed confusion of overlapping subsets of tone pairs, but heritage speakers had a higher error percentage, which indicates a quantitative but not qualitative difference between the two groups. (3) When the target word was semantically incongruous with the carrier sentence, homeland speakers outperformed heritage speakers by attending to acoustic information, while heritage speakers relied on semantic information relatively more often. In other words, the two groups used different listening strategies in tone identification.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Reexamining gender stereotype effects in speech processing: a replication of Strand (2000) (2021)

This thesis replicates work in Gender Stereotype Effects and Speech Processing (Strand, 2000), referred to as GSESP, which explored the influence of gender stereotypes on low-level speech processing; and includes two additional experiments to investigate the types of processing situations wherein the effects noted in GSESP and in this work are active.Strand found a significant effect of voice stereotype level upon speech processing time such that stereotypical voices are processed more quickly than non-stereotypical voices; a significant effect of voice gender upon processing time such that female voices are processed slightly more quickly than male voices; and a significant effect of face stereotype level upon processing time of female voices only, such that a stereotypical female voice primed with a stereotypical face is processed more quickly than when primed with a non-stereotypical face.To explore the replicability of these findings, two experiments are conceptually replicated to select stereotypical and non-stereotypical face and voice stimuli using speeded gender classification tasks; one experiment is conceptually replicated to explore the effect of voice stereotype level upon speech processing using an audio-only speeded shadowing task; and one experiment is conceptually replicated to explore the effect of stereotype priming upon speech perception using a face-primed speeded shadowing task. A version of the audio-only speeded shadowing task and a version of the face-primed speeded shadowing task with stimuli separated by stereotype level are also carried out to determine whether any effects noted are present in processing situations where there are 1-2 voices of a single stereotype level (single talker-type) and in those with more voices of varying stereotype levels (multi talker-type).Reaction time results normalized for word duration show effects of voice stereotype level and voice gender upon processing time as noted in GSESP, but no priming effect of stereotypical faces upon female voices, unlike in GSESP. These results are consistent across the two audio-only speeded shadowing experiments and the two face-primed speeded shadowing experiments.These results support the hypothesis that gender stereotypes influence speech processing, and also suggest that stereotypes are used to filter speech as a default, in multiple types of processing situation.

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