Sasha Calhoun

Teaching in 2020

BA(Hons), MSc, PhD (Edinburgh)

Research interests

Sasha’s research focuses on the functions of prosody and intonation, i.e., the rhythm, timing and tune of speech. Prosody is integral to spoken language, and is essential to our ability to speak, understand and learn language. Sasha has been involved in a range of international and national collaborations looking at the functions of prosody in languages including Samoan, te reo Māori, Chinese, Spanish and German, as well as English. This research, and that which she has supervised, has looked at the role of prosody in signalling important information in speech, in speech production and perception, in signalling pragmatic meanings, in second language acquisition and in distinguishing varieties of English. She has recently worked on a Marsden funded project, Searching for focus in a shared world: the integration of prosody and syntax in cross-linguistic speech perception, looking at the perception of focus in English and Samoan.

Sasha has also been involved in work looking at intonation in an exemplar-theoretic framework. She is interested in prosody and intonation from a wide variety of perspectives, including phonetic and phonological analysis, the role of prosody in psycholinguistic models of language production and comprehension, as well as computational modelling and corpus investigation. She has also worked on generating prosody in speech synthesis.

Sasha welcomes enquiries for PhD supervision on topics related to the research interests above.

Sasha is guest editor, with Paul Warren, Janet Fletcher, Bettina Bruan, Olcay Turk and Mengzhu Yan, of a special collection in Laboratory Phonology on ‘Prosody and speech processing across languages and varieties’, due out in 2020.

This collection was inspired by the following workshop, which Sasha co-hosted in 2018:

Workshop on the Processing of Prosody across Languages and Varieties (ProsLang), 29–30 November 2018.

Sasha is a co-organiser of Forms and representations in phonology: in honour of Bob Ladd, to be held on Sunday 5 July 2020, a satellite workshop of Laboratory Phonology 17, Vancouver, Canada.


Kügler, Frank and Sasha Calhoun (in press). Prosodic encoding of information structure: a typological perspective. In Carlos Gussenhoven and Aoju Chen (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody, Oxford University Press, ch. 31. [Estimated publication October 2020, please contact me if you would like a pre-print.]

Warren, Paul & Sasha Calhoun (in press). Intonation. In Jane Setter and Rachael-Anne Knight (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Phonetics, Cambridge University Press, ch. 2iii.

Calhoun, Sasha, Emma Wollum and Emma Kruse Va’ai (2019). Prosodic prominence and focus: expectation affects interpretation in Samoan and English. Language and Speech, special issue on cross-linguistic prominence, edited by Martine Grice and Frank Kügler. doi: 10.1177/0023830919890362.

Calhoun, Sasha, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain and Paul Warren (eds., 2019) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019, Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

Yan, Mengzhu and Sasha Calhoun (2019). Priming effects of focus in Mandarin Chinese. Frontiers in Psychology 10: 1985, research topic: the role of alternatives in language, edited by Sophie Repp and Katharina Spalek. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01985.

Yan, Mengzhu, Sasha Calhoun and Paul Warren (2019). The role of prosody in priming alternatives in Mandarin Chinese. In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 (pp. 437-441). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.

Calhoun, Sasha, La Cruz, Erwin, & Olssen, Ana (2018). The interplay of information structure, semantics, prosody, and word ordering in Spanish intransitives. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology , 9 (1), 8. DOI: 10.5334/labphon.65.

Calhoun, Sasha (2017). Exclusives, equatives and prosodic phrases in Samoan. Glossa 2(1): 11, special issue on prosody and constituent structure. doi: 10.5334/gjgl.196

Calhoun, Sasha, Naoko Yui and Karena Kelly (2016). Change in Māori focus/topic ko: the impact of language contact on prosody. Proceedings of the Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Conference, Sydney, December 2016, pp. 69-72.

Calhoun, Sasha (2015). The interaction of prosody and syntax in Samoan focus marking. Lingua 165: 205-229, special issue: prosody and information status in typological perspective, edited by Frank Kügler & Stefan Baumann. doi: 10.1016/j.lingua.2014.11.007

Schweitzer, Katrin, Michael Walsh, Sasha Calhoun, Hinrich Schütze, Bernd Möbius, Antje Schweitzer and Grzegorz Dogil (2015). Exploring the relationship between intonation and the lexicon: Evidence for lexicalized storage of intonation. Speech Communication 66: 65-81. doi: 10.1016/j.specom.2014.09.006

Calhoun, Sasha, Erwin La Cruz and Ana Olssen (2014). Venezuelan Spanish intransitives: more prosodic than you’d think. In the Proceedings of the Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Conference, Christchurch, December 2014, p. 236.

Calhoun, Sasha & Antje Schweitzer (2012). Can Intonation Contours be Lexicalised? Implications for Discourse Meanings. In G. Elordieta & P. Prieto (eds.) Prosody and Meaning (Interface Explorations 15, pp. 271-328), Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Calhoun, Sasha (2012). The Theme/Rheme Distinction: Accent Type or Relative Prominence? Journal of Phonetics 40: 329-349.

Schweitzer, Katrin, Michael Walsh, Sasha Calhoun, Hinrich Schütze (2011). Prosodic Variability in Lexical Sequences: Intonation Entrenches Too. In the Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Hong Kong, August 2011, pp. 1778-1781.

Calhoun, Sasha (2010). The Centrality of Metrical Structure in Signaling Information Structure: A Probabilistic Perspective, Language, 86(1), 1-42. (Sound files)

Calhoun, Sasha (2010). How does Informativeness Affect Prosodic Prominence?, Language and Cognitive Processes 25(7-9), 1099-1140, special issue: experimental and theoretical advances in prosody.

Calhoun, Sasha, Jean Carletta, Jason Brenier, Neil Mayo, Dan Jurafsky, Mark Steedman and David Beaver (2010). The NXT-format Switchboard Corpus: A Rich Resource for Investigating the Syntax, Semantics, Pragmatics and Prosody of Dialogue, Language Resources and Evaluation 44(4), 387-419. See also the corpus website, and the LDC release of the corpus.

Schweitzer, Katrin, Sasha Calhoun, Hinrich Schütze, Antje Schweitzer, Michael Walsh (2010). Relative Frequency Affects Pitch Accent Realisation: Evidence for Exemplar Storage of Prosody, Australasian Speech Science & Technology Association Conference, Melbourne, Australia, December 2010, pp. 62-65.

Calhoun, Sasha (2009). What Makes a Word Contrastive? Prosodic, Semantic and Pragmatic Perspectives (pre-publication version). In D. Barth-Weingarten, N. Dehé and A. Wichmann (eds.) Where prosody meets pragmatics: Research at the interface (Studies in Pragmatics 8, pp. 53-78), Bingley: Emerald

Calhoun, Sasha (2007). Predicting Focus through Prominence Structure. In Proceedings of Interspeech, Antwerp, Belgium, pp. 622-625.

Nenkova, Ani, Jason Brenier, Anubha Kothari, Sasha Calhoun, Laura Whitton, David Beaver & Dan Jurafsky (2007), To Memorize or to Predict: Prominence Labeling in Conversational Speech. In Proceedings of NAACL Human Language Technology Conference, Rochester, NY, pp. 9-16.

Calhoun, Sasha (2007). Information Structure and the Prosodic Structure of English: a Probabilistic Relationship, PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh. (Sound files)

Calhoun, Sasha, Malvina Nissim, Mark Steedman and Jason Brenier (2005). A Framework for Annotating Information Structure in Discourse. In Proceedings of Frontiers in Corpus Annotation II: Pie in the Sky, ACL2005 Conference Workshop, Ann Arbor, Michigan, pp. 45-52.

Calhoun, Sasha (2004). Phonetic Dimensions of Intonational Categories - the case of L+H* and H*. In B. Bel & I. Marlien (Eds.), Proceedings of Speech Prosody, Nara, Japan, pp. 103-106.

Teaching in 2020