Sasha Calhoun

Dr Sasha Calhoun profile picture

Senior Lecturer School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies


Teaching in 2019

Research interests

Phonetics, phonology, prosody, intonation.

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. Her PhD thesis looked at how prosody signals information structure in English from a probabilistic perspective. More recently, she has extended this work to look at how information structure, prosody and syntax interact in other languages, including Samoan, te reo Māori and Spanish. She is currently working 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.

She has also been involved in work looking at intonation from an exemplar perspective in English and German. 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 is the chair of the organising committee for this workshop, running at Victoria in November:

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

She is also the co-chair of the scientific committee for the:

International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), Melbourne, 4-9 August 2019.
Papers due: 4 December 2018 (title/abstract), 11 December 2018 (full paper). See the Call for Papers.


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 2019