michael proctor

Current Projects

Developmental trajectory of tongue control for speech with real-time MRI

Australian Research Council  Discovery Project  DP220102933
Kirrie Ballard,  Michael Proctor,  Craig Jin,  Amelia Gully

Imaging the vocal tract during speech production requires high sampling rates to capture articulatory movements across the whole tract in real-time. We are developing software solutions to allow Australian researchers to investigate this most fundamental of human traits. Using a combination of dynamic imaging and 3D vocal tract modelling, we are investigating how the tongue controls vocal tract shape and how this shapes the acoustic speech signal, how this changes with physical growth through adolescence, in monolingual and bilingual speakers of Australian English. This work will inform our understanding of speech variation in culturally and linguistically diverse populations, speech disorders in children and adults, and assist in the development of automatic speech recognition and synthesis technologies.

The building blocks of language: Words in Central Australian languages

Australian Research Council  Discovery Project  DP220102925
Robert Mailhammer,  Michael Proctor,  Mark Harvey,  Jane Simpson

This project seeks to model the structure of words and phrases in three indigenous languages of central Australia: Anmatyerr, Kaytetye, and Warumungu. The project will advance our understanding of the different ways that words and phrases function as the building blocks of language: how words vary in complexity, and the different ways that they combine to generate higher levels of linguistc structure. We are working with speakers and communities to generate new insights into language structure that will advance linguistic theory, and inform language teaching and speech processing technologies.

Recent Projects

Solving the puzzle of complex speech sounds

Australian Research Council   Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
DE150100318:   Proctor, M.I.   (2015-2019)

Speech sounds that fall into the 'l' and 'r' family of consonants ('liquids') are amongst the most difficult to master, both for children and for second language learners. Liquids are complex consonants, requiring finely tuned, and language-specific, coordination of articulatory gestures, but the details of this complexity remain poorly understood. Using state-of-the-art articulatory methods, we are examining liquid production and perception in four typologically-distinct languages, to shed more light on the phonological properties of this class of sounds.

Kaytetye and Prosodic Theory

Australian Research Council   Discovery Project
DP150100845:   Harvey, M., Turpin, M. & Proctor, M.   (2015-2020)

We are examining the phonological structure of the Australian language Kaytetye, a member of the Arandic language family. Arandic languages have previously been analyzed as having unusual (VC) syllable structures, raising important questions for phonological theory. Through careful documentation and phonetic analysis of Kaytetye word and sentence structure, we aim to shed more light on its phonological organization, and implications for general theories of phonology and universals in language.

Research Interests

articulatory phonology,   phonological classhood,   task dynamics,   imaging and modeling of the vocal tract,   phonetics of fricatives,   Turkish syntax,   organisation of phonological systems,   evolution of periphrasis,   phonetics of vocal performance   non-pulmonic consonant production