I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago, bonded to the English Department at the National University of Singapore. I received my
Ph.D. from the
Yale Linguistics department, with some assistance from the departments of
Medieval Studies (M.Phil.) and English (M.A.).
My dissertation was
titled ‘The phonology of
contact’. It comprises three case studies on front rounded
vowels, vowel harmony and word-final vowel epenthesis, and it contrasts
typological gaps in creoles, other types of language contact
and unbroken L1 transmission.
I am a citizen of
Singapore, and that’s where I taught
General Paper and English Literature at
Raffles Junior College before returning to graduate school.
My undergraduate degree was in English, also at Yale. More details appear in my curriculum vitae.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And yes, my surname has a (rising) tone, but no vowels.
I work on phonetically grounded approaches to sound change and
My work includes formal OT and fieldwork; Singaporean English, Bazaar Malay,
Hokkien (southern Min Chinese), Mandarin Chinese, Old English;
the Atlantic creoles and their substrates.
Recently I have focused on segmental sound changes, but I have an ongoing interest in stress, tone and the prosodic word.
Papers and publications
- 2019. High-frequency initialisms: Evidence for Singaporean English stress. Poster presented at LSA 2019 (Linguistic Society of America), New York City, 3–6 Jan. [Poster]
- 2018. Word-final vowel epenthesis: An L2 sound change? Language Variation and Change Workshop, University of Chicago, 16 Feb. [Handout]
- 2016. Transmission bias, language contact and sound change. Poster presented at LSA 2016 (Linguistic Society of America), Washington DC, 7–10 Jan. [Slides]
- 2016. With John Victor Singler. The paradox of paragoge in the interior basilect of Vernacular Liberian English. Paper presented at SPCL Winter 2016 (Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics), Washington DC, 8–9 Jan. [Handout]
Bâtarde in MS 427: Script evolution is a cycle, or detecting formal technique.
Yale Lectures in Medieval Studies,
New Haven, 9 April.
Transmission bias: What language contact does to sound change.
Paper presented at Phonology in the Northeast (PhoNE),
New Haven, 4 April.
When contact doesn’t favor paragoge.
Paper presented at SPCL Winter (Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics),
Boston, 4–5 Jan.
Largely superseded by
this extended abstract.
Paragoge as an indicator of language contact.
Poster presented at LSA 2013 (Linguistic Society of America), Boston, 3–6 Jan.
this extended abstract.
Seeking articulatory principles of chain shifting.
Phonetics lab presentation.
Yale University, 24 April.
Language and ethnic politics in Singapore.
Paper presented at Yale-Indonesia Forum: Language Ideologies in Indonesia.
Yale University, 30–31 March.
Creole exceptionalism via transmission: The weak-to-strong harmony gap.
Paper presented at SPCL Summer 2011 (Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics),
Accra, 2-6 Aug.
The phonology of contact: Dissertation prospectus defence.
Yale University, 25 April.
Superseded by my dissertation.
Vowel unrounding in French creoles.
Paper presented at SPCL Winter 2011 (Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics),
Pittsburgh, 7–8 Jan.
Reduction, frequency and morphology in Singaporean English prosody.
Departmental qualifying paper, Yale University. 9 Apr.
Chinese meets Malay meets English: Bazaar Malay and the Singaporean English word-final high.
Departmental qualifying paper, Yale University. 16 Oct.
Non-plateaus, non-toneless heads: Tone assignment in Colloquial Singaporean English.
Paper presented at CLS 45 (Chicago Linguistic Society), U. Chicago, 16–18 Apr.
[Original slides + handout]
Borrowing Tones: Word-level tone in Colloquial Singaporean English.
Paper presented at SPCL Winter 2009 (Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics),
San Francisco, 9–10 Jan.
[Scripted slides + handout]
- 2008. Singlish as a tonal language, thanks to Bazaar Malay.
Paper presented at ESEA 13 (International Conference on English in Southeast Asia),
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 4–6 Dec.
Affixation, compounding and the prosodic word in Singaporean English.
Paper presented at Workshop on Prosodic Alignment at the Word Level.
Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim, 20–21 Nov.
[Scripted slides + handout]
Malay meets Chinese meets English: Where does Colloquial Singaporean English word-level tone come from?
Paper presented at Workshop on Language Transfer, UWE (Bristol), 9–11 Jul.
Swinging the Top: A Crux in the Old English Apollonius of Tyre.
Paper presented at the Fourth Anglo-Saxon Studies Colloquium Graduate Student Conference, Yale University, 16 Feb 2008.
[Presentation script, revised 30 May 2008]
I have been a member of the following research groups at Yale:
In addition to the courses below, I also taught English Literature
and General Paper for five years at Raffles Junior College in Singapore,
and I hold a basic certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education.
Lecturer/Tutor, National University of Singapore
- EL3202: Phonetics and Phonology (Spring 2016, Spring 2017)
Teaching Fellow, Yale
Singaporean English (Singlish)
As a Singaporean and a Yalie twice over, I have been
intensely interested in the progress of
because I genuinely believe it will be a wonderful thing for
both Singapore and Yale if done right. I have written and spoken
about the surrounding discussion at Yale as well as issues of
teaching in Singapore.
News about Yale-NUS College is available at the following websites:
recent news coverage from Singaporean media. Media discussion
of Yale-NUS is also reposted at the following websites,
both of which make an effort to include multiple perspectives.
- The Yale-NUS Newsroom
contains official news, press releases, media coverage, videos/images and the president's speeches.
- The Liberal Arts in Singapore
(also known as the Yale-NUS blog) is where the Yale-NUS students themselves have blogged about their experiences and thoughts.
This blog was originally founded by a Yale-NUS admissions officer.
- Yale and Singapore (subscriber-only) hosted on the
Run by faculty critics of Yale-NUS. For instructions on how to join
this website, see their
letter to the Yale Daily News. Non-Yale affiliates can also join on request:
click “Non-Yale Login” at the top right-hand corner
for more information. NB: Although subscribers
can request to be notified of new posts, they should be aware that
notification has been suppressed in some cases.