I'm an associate professor in Computer Science, Linguistics, and
Cognitive Science. I'm interested in how people learn and use
language. I study language learning and processing by building
computer models; that is, I write computer programs that are meant to
simulate some aspect of human linguistic behavior. For me computers
are a tool for understanding how the human mind works. I've always
been fascinated by language for its own sake, but I also think, as
many others do, that one of the keys to human cognition and to
understanding what differentiates us from other animals is language.
Within language I work in various areas, in particular, how the sounds
of language and the structure and meanings of words are learned.
Recently, along with several others at IU, including Fred Cummins, I
have begun thinking about how people might learn and handle the
rhythms of language. This has also led me to consider musical rhythm,
which, as we'll see in this course, is simpler in some ways. This
research interest coincides with my enjoyment of highly rhythmic
music, and we will listen to and discuss informally a number of
examples of such music in the class.