Illuminating language processing by leveraging linguistic diversity


Thursday, March 7

4-5 P.M.


Bond Hall 415 or Zoom

A talk by Western alum Samantha Wray

This talk will be recorded and shared online.


A wealth of research has sought to explain how our minds and brains perform common (but nonetheless computationally complex) tasks, such as parsing a word into its constituent morphemes. However, the seminal work behind these major models is often informed by only a handful of language families with a limited array of linguistic features, leaving the particulars of how language is processed incomplete.


This talk focuses on how psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research can utilize targeted manipulations of experiment design in combination with linguistic properties of understudied languages to expand our current models of language processing. I present my work in both visual and auditory linguistic processing on understudied languages, including non-standard varieties of Arabic and Filipino/Tagalog. This research is brought to bear on questions of interest to linguistics, including restrictions on word formation and the role of phonology in word recognition.

AA/EO. For disability accommodation, please contact Sara Helms, 360-650-3914,

Samantha Wray

Samantha Wray is an alum of the Linguistics Department at WWU ('08), where her love of linguistics was sparked. Her academic passion is the Arabic language. She completed her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Arizona, her postdocotral training at New York University - Abu Dhabi, and is currently a lecturer at Dartmouth College in the Linguistics Department, with additional affiliations in the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences and the Cognitive Science Program.