I received my Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1987, in Ibero-Romance Linguistics. I have been working on the Phonetics and Phonology of Spanish and Portuguese since I came to the University of Kansas. My current work focuses on the speech prosody of Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, in a project that views language as a dynamic system. Before joining the University of Kansas in 1989, I taught at the University of Texas at Austin from 1987 to 1989. I have been a tenured faculty member of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, since 1996. I also taught in other universities in the US and abroad.
I have studied at the following institutions: Central College, Pella, Iowa (B.A., 1976); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (M.A., 1979); and at the Institut de phonétique, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, France, where I completed my D.E.A. in 1980. I continued working on my doctoral research at the Institut de phonétique for over three years. After those three years, I went to the University of Texas at Austin, where I completed my doctoral work.
In my Ph.D. dissertation, I applied to Brazilian Portuguese Dennis Klatt’s prediction model of duration in connected speech for American English. Klatt’s model deals with speech synthesis-by-rule. Although speech synthesis-by-rule does not necessarily reflect mental processes in natural languages, it can shed light on natural language processes, because synthesis-by-rule uses data obtained from research done with natural languages.
My current research focuses on speech prosody, which takes me back to my years as a graduate student in Aix-in-provence, France, at the Institut de phonétique. In my studies of speech prosody, I view language or speech as dynamic systems, contrary to the most common approach in the US, the generativist program, which views language as a linear sequence of linguistic events. Given my view of language as a dynamic system, I am working on the transcription of the intonation patterns of Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese, using non-idealized recordings of these languages. In my transcriptions, I use ToBI, a transcription convention based of the view of language as a linear system, as a reference for evaluating alternative transcriptions, especially transcriptions based on the view of language as a dynamic system.
In general, I teach courses in Hispanic Linguistics. In occasions, I directed and taught at KU’s programs abroad in Brazil, Florianópolis and Vitória; in Spain, in Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona; and in Argentina, in Buenos Aires during regular academic year and summer. In addition, I have taught during the summer at Middlebury College’s Portuguese School, in Vermont, and as a Visiting Distinguished Professor at the US Military Academy, in West Point, NY. I have developed projects with the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES), in Vitória, Brazil, where I have also taught courses in Spanish and Portuguese Linguistics. In fall 2013, I was in Qingdao, China, at the Ocean University of China, working on language prosody, as part of my sabbatical work.
I have authored the e-book Baticum a textbook available for free on the internet, which teaches Brazilian Portuguese to advanced students; I have also written Pois não - Brazilian Portuguese for Spanish Speakers (UT Press, 2008),Pronouncing Brazilian Portuguese (LinguaText, 2007), Portuguese for Spanish Speakers Selected Articles Written in Portuguese and English, (Pontes, 2004), and Com licença! Brazilian Portuguese for Spanish Speakers (UT Press, 1992). Pois não is an offspring of Com licença!. There are many differences between both textbooks, but there are also coincidences, because both deal with the same topic and audience. The expression “Pois não,” which means “yes,” is in a “dialogue” with the expression “Com licença,” which means “excuse me.”
Two new articles that represent my ongoing research are currently in print (2014). One is the article “Lexical Stress in Brazilian Portuguese in Contrast with Spanish,” in Campbell, Nick, Dafydd Gibbon and Daniel Hirst, editors, Annals of the 2014 Speech Prosody Conference # 7, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, which is a first step in my work with speech prosody. The other one is an article titled “Portuguese,” to appear in Language Acquisition, editors Günter Holtus and Fernando Sánchez Miret. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter, 2014. “Portuguese” presents the current situation of the Portuguese language as a global language and additional descriptions of Portuguese in terms of Theoretical Linguistics.
In addition to my regular publications, I have other works that that can be accessed for free downloads. Feel free to view them in the links below.
I have received a number of awards for teaching and research, but the most important one so far is a grant that I received from the US Department of Education to develop teaching and testing tools. Among other innovative products of this project, I developed the first Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT) for Portuguese.