FINALLY updated May 19, 2011!
Revised: Publications updated, updated CV posted, conference presentations removed, possibly temporarily. It was just too cluttered to have them all here. If you want a .pdf of a conference presentation, please E-Mail me and I will send it right away
Photo: Kevin Burk.
Subject: Benjamin Munson and a stray cat on Rarotonga, Cook Islands, July 6, 2008.
I called her "Island Cat" and fed her tuna. She later scratched me. Thankfully, Polynesia is rabies-free.
Benjamin Munson is my name
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
University of Minnesota
115 Shevlin Hall
164 Pillsbury Drive, SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
Vox: +1 612 624 3322
Fax: +1 612 624 7586
You are visitor: . Take a second to think about all those who visited before you.
Forty-four pages--that's 4 pages for every year I've been a professor.
My Blog is woefully out of date. Who blogs anymore? Find me at BenjyRayMunson on Twitter.
Research: Phonological Development and Disorders
Research: Potpourri (the influence of lexical factors in vowel production, assessment of cleft palate speech, cochlear implants, etc.)
My Family (with pictures!)
My research has two broad themes. The first of these is phonological development and disorders. My research tries to address a variety of questions. How do children acquire the sound structure of their native language? What do children (and, for that matter, adults) know about the sound structure of their language? What are the limits of individual differences in this knowledge? What cognitive, linguistic, social, perceptual, and motor skills support speech-sound learning? What causes some children to have severe difficulties acquiring the sound structure of their native language in the absence of any clear predisposing factors? What are the social and educational consequences of variation in and disorders of knowledge the sound structure of language?
Figure: M. Beckman, J. Edwards
My early work on this topic examined relationships between word learning and speech-sound knowledge (Munson, 2001 JSLHR, Edwards et al., 2004, Munson, Edwards, & Beckman, 2005; Munson, Swenson, & Manthei, 2005; Munson, Kurtz, & Windsor, 2005). This was followed by a set of studies using psycholinguistic methods to examine further the levels of impairment implicated in childhood speech-sound disorder. These are summarized in Munson, Baylis, Krause, and Yim (in press), and in various presentations in 2006. One important lasting lesson from that project is that there is a supremely complex relationship between speech-production abilities and response times in naming task. The ultimate publication of the results of the experiments from that project (indeed, the most lasting contribution from that project) is dependent on my learning and adapting complex statistical models to tease apart the roles of speech-production accuracy and higher-level linguistic formulation on responses times in naming tasks. This endeavor is ongoing, and has been spurred by the recent gain in popularity in the field of linguistics of linear mixed-effects models with crossed random effects for subjects and items. A first report of the use of that to examine response times in children with speech-sound disorder can be found here. Stay tuned for more work on that. This work is also the foundation for a series of planned large-scale projects on phonological disorder. (See collaborations for more on that.)
My more recent work, done as part of the project [link], has focused on detailed studies how children learn the relationship between speech articulation its acoustic consequences. This work has been funded by a grant from the Human and Social Dynamics initiative of the National Science Foundation, and has four principal investigators: Mary Beckman, Jan Edwards, Eric Fosler-Lussier (Dept. of Computer Science, Ohio State University), and me. My part in this project has been to conduct cross-linguistic studies of adults' perception of children's productions, taken from the database of cross-linguistic phonological acquisition that Beckman and Edwards developed in their own research. One major finding from that study is that adult speakers' interpretations of children's emerging productions are highly language specific. Li, Munson, Edwards, Yoneyama and Hall (2011, JASA) found that Japanese- and English-speaking adults interpret children's sibilant fricative productions differently: English adults interpret ambiguous productions as /s/, while Japanese adults interpret them as a post-alveolar fricative. This finding explains in part the well-established cross-language asymmetries in the order of acquisition of /s/ and its post-alveolar counterpart. Work in progress (in collaboration with Edwards and Tim Arbisi-Kelm) shows a similar asymmetry for the perception of alveolar and velar stops by English- and Greek-speaking adults. Again, this explains another cross-language order-of-acquisition asymmetry. Another major finding from this study is that adults are able to perceive fine phonetic detail in children's speech extremely accurately when given a response modality that allows for a continuous response, such as visual analog scaling. This is true for a variety of contrasts, and is stable across differences in task difficulty (Urberg-Carlson, Kaiser, & Munson, 2008; Urberg-Carlson, Munson, & Kaiser, 2009; Kaiser, Munson, et al., 2009, Munson et al. 2010). This finding has practical importance, in that it shows that people can conduct relatively fine-grained assessments of children's speech without necessarily using complex instrumentation. It also has theoretical importance, in that it shows that we should use gradient feedback in the computational learning models that we are developing in the broader grant project.
Starting in 2011 Jan Edwards, Mary Beckman and I will begin a longitudinal study of lexical and phonological development in children with cochlear implants, low-income typically developing children, and late talkers. Stay tuned for more on that, and a professionally produced webiste, too.
Representative Publications in this area (reverse chronological order, some with links):
Edwards, J., & Munson, B. (in press). Transcribing the speech of multilingual children with speech sound disorders. In S. Macleod and B. Goldstein (Eds.), Multilingual Aspects of Speech Sound Disorders in Children.
: Multilingual Matters. Bristol
Munson, B., Beckman, M., & Edwards, J. (in press). Abstraction and Specificity in Early Lexical Representations. In Cohn, A., Fougeron, C. & Huffman, M. (Eds.), Oxford Handbook in Laboratory Phonology (Oxford University Press).
Li, F., Munson, B., Edwards, J., Yoneyama, K., & Hall, K.C. (2011). Language specificity in the perception of voiceless sibilant fricatives in Japanese and English: Implications for cross-language differences in speech-sound development. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129, 999-1011
Beckman, M., Munson, B., & Edwards, J. (2011). Methodological issues in the study of phonotactic probability effects in nonword repetition. In Proceedings of the International Congress on Phonetic Sciences. Hong Kong, China: City University of Hong Kong.
Edwards, J., Munson, B., &
(2011). Lexicon–phonology relationships and dynamics of early language development – a commentary on Stoel-Gammon’s ‘Relationships between lexical and phonological development in young children’. Journal of Child Language, 38, 35-40. Beckman, M.E.
Munson, B., Baylis, A.L., Krause, M.O., & Yim, D. (2010). Representation and Access in Phonological Impairment. In C. Fougeron, B. Kühnert, M. D'Imperio, & N. Vallée (Eds.), Laboratory Phonology 10. (p. 381-404).
: Mouton de Gruyter. Berlin
Munson, B., Edwards, J., Schellinger, S.K.,
, & Meyer, M.K. (2010). Deconstructing Phonetic Transcription: Covert Contrast, Perceptual Bias, and an Extraterrestrial View of Vox Humana. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 24, 245-260. Beckman, M.E.
, Belkin, M., Fosler-Lussier, E., & Munson, B. (2010). Learning speaker normalization using semisupervised manifold alignment. In the Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2010) (p. 2918-2921). ISSN 1990-9772. Beckman, M.E. . Chiba, Japan
Edwards, J., & Munson, B. (2009). Bases: perception, production, and phonology. In R. Schwartz (Ed.), Handbook of Child Language Disorders. New York: Psychology Press.
Beckman, M.E., Munson, B., & Edwards, J. (2007). The influence of vocabulary growth on developmental changes in types of phonological knowledge. In J. Cole & J. Hualde (Eds.), Laboratory Phonology 9 (p. 241-264). New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Munson, B. (2006). Nonword repetition and levels of abstraction in phonological knowledge. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 577-581.
Munson, B., Edwards, J., & Beckman, M.E. (2005). Phonological knowledge in typical and atypical speech-sound development. Topics in Language Disorders, 25, 190-206.
Munson, B., Kurtz, B.A., & Windsor, J. (2005). The Influence of Vocabulary Size, Phonotactic Probability, and Wordlikeness on Nonword Repetitions of Children with and without Language Impairments. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 1033-1047.
Munson, B., Swenson, C.L., & Manthei, S.C. (2005). Lexical and phonological organization in children: evidence from repetition tasks. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 108-123.
Munson, B., & Babel, M.E. (2005). The sequential cueing effect in children's speech production. Applied Psycholinguistics, 26, 157-174.
Munson, B., Edwards, J., & Beckman, M.E. (2005). Relationships between nonword repetition accuracy and other measures of linguistic development in children with phonological disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 61-78.
Munson, B., & Brinkman, K.N. (2004). The effect of multiple presentations on judgments of children's speech production accuracy. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 13, 341-354.
Edwards, J., Beckman, M.E., & Munson, B. (2004). The interaction between vocabulary size and phonotactic probability effects on children’s production accuracy and fluency in nonword repetition. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 421-436.
Munson, B. (2004). Variability in /s/ production in children and adults: evidence from dynamic measures of spectral mean. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 58-69.
Munson, B., Bjorum, E., & Windsor, J. (2003). Acoustic and perceptual correlates of stress in nonwords produced by children with suspected developmental apraxia of speech and children with phonological disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 189-202.
Munson, B. (2001). Phonological pattern frequency and speech production in children and adults. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 778-792.
Munson, B. (2001). Relationships between vocabulary size and spoken word recognition in children aged 3-7. Contemporary Issues in Communication Disorders and Sciences, 28, 20-29.
My second area is sociophonetics. Variability is the hallmark of speech and language as it exists in the real world. This variability occurs at every level of linguistic structure, from the resonant frequencies in the nucleus of a vowel, to the form of the copula, to the choice of particular words in discourse. Part of the task of learning language is to be able to learn the speaker attributes that different linguistic forms index. This is a critical (and sadly, all-too-often ignored) facet of language acquisition. Our work in this area ultimately hopes to build models of the interplay between indexical learning and 'regular' language learning (i.e., learning sounds, words, morphophonological alternations--the whole megillah) across languages and across different ability levels (i.e., whether language impairments, phonological disorders, and psychosocial impairments [like autism] are associated with a decreased ability to interpret linguistic variation as bearing social meaning.) We are also interested in how talkers convey attributes, social categories, and stances through phonetic variation, and how listeners perceive these.
This is exciting work. It has required me to read outside of the usual journal that I read, and to intensively re-train myself in areas I never thought I would read in: personality psychology, metacognition, linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and cultural studies, just to name a few. Bridging different disciplines is exciting and has helped me see language in an entirely new light.
Representative publications (reverse chronological order, some with links):
Munson, B. (in press). Lavender lessons learned, or, what sexuality can teach us about phonetic variation. American Speech., & Munson, B. (in press). Producing socially meaningful linguistic variation. In M. Goldrick, V. Ferreira, & M. Miozzo (Eds.), Oxford Handbook in Speech Production.
Munson, B. (in press). Chapter 10: Phonetic Variation in American English. In L. Shriberg & R.D. Kent, Clinical Phonetics, 4th Edition.
: Longman. Boston
Smith, E.A., Hall, K.C., & Munson, B. (2010). Bringing semantics to sociophonetics: social variables and secondary entailments. Journal of Laboratory Phonology, 1, 121-155.
Munson, B., & Coyne, A.C. (2010). The Influence of Apparent Vocal-Tract Size, Contrast Type, and Implied Sources of Variation on the Perception of American English Voiceless Lingual Fricatives. Journal of the Phonetic Society of
(special issue: "Advances in Laboratory Phonology and Experimental Optimality Theory"), 14, 48-59. Japan
Munson, B. (2010). Levels of phonological abstraction and knowledge of socially motivated speech-sound variation: a review, a proposal, and a commentary on the Papers by Clopper, Pierrehumbert, and Tamati; Drager; Foulkes; Mack; and Smith, Hall, and Munson. Journal of Laboratory Phonology, 1, 157-177.
Munson, B. (2010). Variation, implied pathology, social meaning, and the 'gay lisp': a response to Van Borsel et al. (2009). Journal of Communication Disorders, 43, 1–5.
Munson, B. (2010). The Influence of Actual and Perceived Sexual Orientation on Diadochokinetic Rate in Women and Men. In the Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2010) (p. 1525-1528). ISSN 1990-9772. Chiba, Japan.
Munson, B., & Solum, R. (2010). When is Indexical Information about Speech Activated? Evidence from a Cross-Modal Priming Experiment. In the Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (INTERSPEECH 2010) (p. 1521-1524). ISSN 1990-9772. Chiba, Japan.
Munson, B. (2009). Pathology or social indexing? In C. Bowen, Children's speech sound disorders.
Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.
Munson, B. (2007). [Review of M. Ball (Ed.), Clinical Sociolinguistics]. Journal of the International Phonetics Association, 37, 235-238.
Munson, B. (2007). Lexical characteristics mediate the influence of talker sex and sex typicality on vowel-space size. In J. Trouvain & W. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Congress on Phonetic Sciences (p. 885-888). Saarbrucken, Germany: University of Saarland.
- Note: yes, you read right: there is a typo in the title of published version the paper--not exactly my finest moment, but hey, it shows I'm human. Do us both a favor and please refer to this paper with the typo-corrected title.
Munson, B., & Babel, M. (2007). Loose lips and silver tongues: projecting sexual orientation through speech. Linguistics and Language Compass 1, 416-449.
, M., & Munson, B. (2010). Teaching and Learning Guide for: Loose Lips and Silver Tongues, or, Projecting Sexual Orientation through Speech. Language and Linguistics Compass, 4, 1–3. Babel
Munson, B. (2007). The acoustic correlates of perceived sexual orientation, perceived masculinity, and perceived femininity. Language and Speech, 50, 125-142.
Munson, B., McDonald, E.C., DeBoe, N.L., & White, A.R. (2006). Acoustic and perceptual bases of judgments of women and men's sexual orientation from read speech. Journal of Phonetics, 34, 202-240.
Munson, B., Jefferson, S.V., & McDonald, E.C. (2006). The influence of perceived sexual orientation on fricative identification. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119, 2427-2437.
Pierrehumbert, J.B., Bent, T., Munson, B., Bradlow, A.R., & Bailey, J.M. (2004). The influence of sexual orientation on vowel production. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 116, 1905-1908.
I have many other research papers on a potpourri of topics in laboratory phonology. These include work on speech production in adults, speech perception in individuals with cochlear implants, cleft palate, and other interesting topics. Dabbling in different research areas is one of the reasons why being a professor is so much fun. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of working outside of my primary areas of expertise is that I get to work with and learn from my colleagues. I have particularly enjoyed the work in this section on the influence of lexical factors on speech production (Munson, 2007; Munson & Solomon, 2004; Watson & Munson, 2007, 2008). In an ideal world, I would give this line of research equal billing and equal time with my work on acquisition and sociophonetics.
Representative Publications (reverse chronological order, some with links):
Baylis, A., Munson, B., & Moller, K. (in press, 2011). Perceptions of Audible Nasal Emission in Speakers with Cleft Palate: A Comparative Study of Listener Judgments. Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal. (doi: 10.1597/09-201)
Yoneyama, K., & Munson, B. (2010). Spoken Word Recognition in First and Second Languages: The case of Japanese Listeners. Journal of the Phonetic Society of
(special issue: "Advances in Laboratory Phonology and Experimental Optimality Theory"), 14, 35-47. Japan
Watson, P., & Munson, B. (2008). Parkinson's disease and the effect of lexical factors on vowel articulation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 5, EL291-EL295.
Baylis, A.L., Munson, B., & Moller, K. (2008). Factors affecting phonetic accuracy in children with velocardiofacial syndrome and children with cleft palate or velopharyngeal dysfunction: A preliminary report. Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 45, 193–207.
Watson, P., & Munson, B. (2007). The Influence of Phonological Neighborhood Density and Word Frequency on Vowel-Space Dispersion in Older and Younger Adults. In J. Trouvain & W. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Congress on Phonetic Sciences (p. 561-564). Saarbrucken, Germany: University of Saarland.
Munson, B. (2007). Lexical access, lexical representation, and vowel articulation. In J. Cole & J. Hualde (Eds.), Laboratory Phonology 9 (p. 201-228) New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Alamsaputra, D.M., Kohnert, K.J., Munson, B., & Reichle, J. (2006). Synthesized speech intelligibility among non-native speakers of English. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 22, 258-268.
Munson, B., & Nelson, P.B. (2005). Phonetic identification in quiet and in noise by listeners with cochlear implants. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 118.
Munson, B., & Solomon, N.P. (2004). The effect of phonological neighborhood density on vowel articulation. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 1048-1058.
Collison, E.A., Munson, B., & Carney, A.E. (2004). Relations among linguistic and cognitive skill and spoken word recognition in adults with cochlear implants. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 496-508.
Solomon, N.P., & Munson, B. (2004). The effect of jaw position on measures of tongue strength and endurance. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 584-594.
Munson, B., Donaldson, G., Allen, S., Collison, E., & Nelson, D. (2003). Patterns of phoneme misperceptions by individual with cochlear implants. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 113, 925-935.
Lahey, M., Edwards, J., & Munson, B. (2001). Is speed of processing related to severity of language impairment? Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 44, 1354-1362.
Munson, B. (2001). A method for studying variability in fricatives using dynamic measures of spectral mean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 110, 1203-1206.
Manis, F. R., McBride-Chang, C., Seidenberg, M. S., Keating, P., Doi, L. M., Munson, B., & Peterson, A. (1997). Are speech perception deficits associated with developmental dyslexia? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 66, 211-235.
I typically teach three courses: Phonetics, Speech Science (that's roughly equivalent to laboratory phonology or experimental phonetics), and Phonological Disorders. I have occasionally taught a fourth course (Atypical Speech and Language or a freshmen seminar). Oddly, I'm in my 18th semester at the University of Minnesota and I have never taught a graduate seminar! Needless to say, I have the 'opportunity' to do numerous one-on-one reading groups with doctoral students. I love classroom teaching. It's like improvisational theater. Like improv, sometimes you kill and sometimes you bomb (to use some needlessly violent show-business metaphors). Teaching also means working one-on-one with students. I have worked with students at all levels, from first-semester undergrad newbies to PhD students with decades-long careers in speech-language pathology under their belts. I work with students in my department as well as ones in linguistics. As with most things in life, it's the greatest challenge and provides the greatest reward. Education is all about possibility, and I'm happy to help students see the world of possibilities in front of them.
I don't do my research alone. I have been fortunate to work with a number of people during my career. I work very closely with Jan Edwards and Mary Beckman and probably will right up until one of us retires. Molly Babel was my first (but not my last) star undergraduate, and has been a wonderful collaborator over the years. E. Allyn Smith has taught me about formant semantics; she, Kathleen Hall, and I have learned a lot from one another and about the art of collaborating. Adriane Baylis helped me understand the importance of measurement theory. Peter Watson always has an idea up his sleeve. Joe Reichle reminds me to always think about implications for practice. I could go on and on. Science is process of helping human beings be better adapted to the world in which we live. The best science happens in communities of practice that are respectful, diligent, and open-minded. I'm glad to be a part of such a community. The community of scientists is healthiest when its members are good citizens. I do my part by peer reviewing, being an associate editor (JSLHR-Language: 2004-2007, JASA-Speech Perception: 2011-2014), doing ad hoc grant reviews, serving on ASHA conference program committees, serving as the chair of the ASA Speech Communication Technical Committee, among others.
I had the great fortune of going to a grammar school called the Coalition for Action, Unity, and Social Equality (CAUSE) school, a magnet school with a strong focus on social justice and experimental education. I went there from kindergarten through the end of grade school. I then went to high school at Mt. St. Joseph's Academy, a Catholic school run by the Sisters of St. Joseph in Buffalo, recently characterized by Dr. Mia Pappagallo, MD ('85) as being the home of 'guitar-playing hippies'. After three very enjoyable years at Mount ('84-'87), it closed down.. I then spent a year at the City Honors School, a very nice school (consistently rated very highly by Newsweek) where most of my grade-school friends had gone. After one interesting year at Tufts University, I dropped out of college for a semester and ended up eventually at the State University of New York at Buffalo. I got a B.A. with a trip major in Political Science, Russian, and Linguistics in '92. I had a spectacular two and a half years as a graduate student in linguistics at UCLA, which ended when I dropped out of graduate school in early '95. After a few months working as a parking lot attendant at the Buffalo Zoo, I went on to Ohio State, where I got my M.A. in speech-language pathology in December '97 and my Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science in '00. I started my position as an Assistant Professor at Minnesota three days before I formally received my Ph.D. I feel very fortunate to have had some incredibly dedicated teachers at each of the schools I went to. As strange as it was to have a highly radical and highly political elementary school education, it has made me the adult I am. I'm also very proud that my sister Nancy continues to teach in the same school district that educated us.
For seven Kevin Burk and I have been together! Kevin has recently been called "everyone's favorite non-linguist" (credit: Abby Walker), and frequently attends conferences with me so that he can hang out in Chicago, Wellington, San Francisco, etc. We had a great civil union ceremony on July 3, 2008, in Wellington, New Zealand. Because it was right after Labphon 11, we were fortunate enough to be joined by many of our friends. We had a honeymoon in the South Pacific, which was pretty much a dream come true for me. We live in an apartment in a high-rise in beautiful Downtown Minneapolis It's filled with pop-culture artifacts and books, books, books, and more books. And a cat, Carrie Munson-Burk. We are fortunate to be in the heart of the Twin Cities, one of the nicest places in the country to live. And we're only a short plane ride away from our families. My sister and nephew are back in Buffalo, and Kevin's mom is in Phoenix.
Kevin Burk, Mary Beckman
Kevin Burk, Carrie Munson-Burk, Benjamin Munson