Experimental Linguistics Laboratory

As a unit within the Department of Linguistics at the University of Manitoba, the Experimental Linguistics Laboratory supports both research and teaching. The Lab is located at 131 Isbister on the Fort Garry Campus. The Lab is both a multi-functional workspace designed to facilitate a variety of research and teaching needs, and a close-knit collaborative research community offering an open academic environment and mutual support in the experimental study of signed and spoken language processes.

Lab facilities and support

The Experimental Linguistics Laboratory features several overlapping multi-use areas, designed for maximum flexibility and the ability to accommodate current and future projects. In a few minutes, the lab can be converted to accomodate meetings, seminars in classes, or video and/or audio recording and analysis. The video production area includes portable professional video equipment and a backdrop for recording samples of ASL or other signed languages, and a workstation with video editing and analysis software. The audio production area also features a workstation, recording equipment and a sound-attenuated recording booth. Throughout the space are secure storage for books, files, additional equipment and the lab's collection of anatomical models and specimens.

As a unit, the Lab is supported by annual special-units funding provided by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and special funding provided by the Dean to Dr Janzen to support ASL research and the joint program (with Red River College) in ASL/English Interpretation. 

At present, the Lab is also research home for some colleagues in the Department of Psychology, displaced by the recent fire and current renovations taking place in Duff Roblin.

Research projects

In addition to student and class-related projects, the Lab is at present home to two long-term research initiatives:
Winnipeg Vowels Project
A multi-stage acoustic analysis project looking at phonetic variation in vowel production among English and French speaking Manitobans. For more information, see Rob Hagiwara's research page.
ASL Dictionary Project
Envisioned as a web-based "reference grammar" for ASL researchers, the project is will bring together video of citation forms and in-context examples of individual signs in ASL, with cross-links to articulatory, perceptual, and grammatical discussion. (Link forthcoming.)



Terry Janzen (research lead for signed language)
Dr Janzen's research interests include syntax, discourse pragmatics, grammaticalization, and translation/interpretation, particularly with respect to signed language. In the lab, he is responsible for maintaining the video equipment and related materials. He currently oversees the ASL Dictionary project, and several student research projects.
Rob Hagiwara (research lead for spoken language)
Dr Hagiwara's research interests include segmental and prosodic phonetics, phonetic variation, sociophonetics, and anatomical/physiological constraints on speech production. He maintains the lab's collection of anatomical models and specimens, the audio recording equipment, and the lab's data archives. Current Lab projects include the Winnipeg Vowels project.
Kevin Russell (research lead for computational and corpus linguistics)
Dr Russell's research interests include morphology, the phonetics-phonology interface, and computational linguistics. He maintains the Lab's collection of linguistic corpora, as well as supervising student projects


Undergraduate courses supported by the lab

Whether directly involved in Lab activities or not, students in the following undergraduate courses benefit from the Lab and its assets.
  • LING 1380 General Phonetics
  • LING 2830 Linguistic Anatomy and Physiology 1: Speech Production
  • LING 2850 Linguistic Anatomy and Physiology 2: Neural Organization
  • LING 2880 Acoustic Phonetics
  • LING 3140 Phonological Theory
  • LING 3300 Structure of ASL
  • LING 3400 Field Methods
  • and occasional seminars (offered as LING 3820 and LING 3840)

Scheduled lab activities

Speeches at the ELL Warming, 5 Oct 07.