Grant M. Berry (PI)
- Highest Degree: Ph.D. (2018)
- Department: Spanish
- Cluster(s): Community/Cognition/Computation
- Member Since: Fall 2020
- Recent Work: www.grantberry.info
My training is in linguistics, mathematics, and cognitive science, and my academic career has been dedicated to understanding how human beings of various linguistic and sociodemographic backgrounds adapt to variation in the world around them. Through my graduate studies, I gained expertise in several methodological approaches, including behavioral tasks, electroencephalography, self-paced reading, ethnographic interviewing, acoustic analysis, and computational modeling. As an employee of Amazon working on Alexa, I collaborated with research scientists and engineers from disparate backgrounds to tackle complex challenges in the construction of natural language understanding technology that is robust to language variation, and I was responsible for delivering high-quality results to customers under strict timelines.
Language is one of the most variable phenomena we encounter regularly, but variation is not random: patterns emerge due to cognitive, sociodemographic, and linguistic factors. All of this information must be taken into account when perceiving speech, meaning that adaptation is an essential skill. A long-term consequence of language adaptation may be the adoption of systematic structural changes, which leads to the formation of new dialects/varieties. My work has explored the influence of sociodemographic and cognitive factors on participation in sound change and on maintaining stable patterns in established minority communities.