Published: Jan. 1, 2015

CU Linguistics Assistant Professor Rebecca Scarborough has won a 2014 Provost's Faculty Achievement Award. The award is presented annually to selected faculty who have offered recent significant publication or creative contributions in their academic fields. Dr. Scarborough's award recognizes her ground-breaking work in experimental phonetics. Dr. Scarborough's research focuses on listener-directed speech and the acoustics of nasalization: she has not only exposed the ways in which lexical content influences the articulation of words but is also developing measures that predict human perception of nasality. Dr. Scarborough and her students are building a bridge between basic theoretical linguistic research and the computational models used for automatic speech recognition, a bridge that can lead to advances in both fields. The prestige of the outlets in which Dr. Scarborough has published her results is a testament to the attention her work and research paradigm are receiving in the field, which is increasingly moving away from the notion that 'perception is reception' toward explanations of sound change and sound-system organization in which the hearer plays a fundamental role in constructing the speech signal. Dr. Scarborough's influential papers include "Talker adaptation in speech perception: Adjusting the signal or the representations?", co-authored with Delphine Dahan and Sarah Drucker; it appeared in 2008 the top cognitive science journal, Cognition. Another landmark work is the singly-authored paper "Lexical and contextual predictability: Confluent effects on the production of vowels", which appeared in 2010 in the influential experimental journal Laboratory Phonology.