Márton Sóskuthy
Lecturer

Profile

Biography

Márton Sóskuthy's main research interests lie at the intersection of sound change, phonetics and phonology. His research focuses on explanations of sound change based on complex interactions among multiple factors such as natural phonetic tendencies, frequency effects and lexical contrast maintenance. These questions are approached using a combination of computational and quantitative methods.

He obtained a combined MA in English Language and Literature / Theoretical Linguistics at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, and a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. He joined the University of York as a lecturer in phonetics and phonology in 2013.

Career

  • Eötvös Loránd University
    MA in English Language and Literature / Theoretical Linguistics (2004–2009)
  • University of Edinburgh
    PhD in Linguistics (2009–2013)
  • University of York
    Lecturer (2013–present)

Departmental roles

  • Chair of Ethics Committee

Research

Overview

My main research interests are sound change, phonetics and phonology. My recent work focuses on explanations of sound change based on complex interactions among multiple factors such as natural phonetic tendencies, frequency effects and lexical contrast maintenance. These ideas are substantiated through computational simulations based on psychologically plausible models of speech production and perception. Such models can generate empirically testable predictions related to sound change and sound patterns. These predictions are tested using quantitative data such as acoustic measurements and various frequency-based measures from linguistic corpora.

Projects

  • Phonetic biases and contrast maintenance as predictors of sound change: a combined corpus-based and acoustic phonetic approach

    The sounds in a language undergo change over time. Sound change has been explained in many different ways, but certain explanations tend to recur. It has been suggested that sound change often results from certain physical limitations of the speech organs (so-called phonetic biases), and that it can be inhibited by a need to maintain contrasts between words with different meanings. This project attempts to evaluate the precise roles of these factors in sound change through a combination of innovative methods. Computational simulations are used to determine how these factors may interact with each other and to generate testable predictions about their influence. These predictions are then tested using acoustic phonetic and corpus data from a range of different languages (English, French, Hungarian, Norwegian, Romanian and Serbian).
  • A phonetic study of L-deletion in Hungarian
    Collaborators: Péter Rácz (University of Canterbury), Dániel Szeredi (New York University)

    This project is an attempt to gain a better understanding of a well-known but little researched topic in the phonetics of Hungarian, namely the deletion of the sound L at the end of the word and before consonants (e.g. fal > faa 'wall', bolt > boot 'shop'). Our main research questions are whether L-deletion is a change in progress in Hungarian, whether it is a gradient process (with many intermediate 'half-deleted' variants besides full and completely deleted realisations of L) and whether the deletion of L is conditioned by additional phonetic factors. We are approaching the data using a combination of traditional methods such as auditory coding and more advanced computational techniques such as signal processing (Discrete Cosine Transform, or DCT) and mixed effects linear regression. Our hope is that this project will not only yield a better understanding of L-deletion, but also provide a methodology for dealing with gradient variation that is weakly cued in the acoustic signal.
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Contact details

Márton Sóskuthy
Lecturer
Department of Language and Linguistic Science

Tel: (0)1904 324171

http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~ms1341/