Graduate Students

Canaan Breiss

I’m a fourth year grad student in UCLA’s linguistics department. Broadly speaking, my research deals in theoretical phonology, the relationship between learning and grammar (in both infants and adults), and the interfaces between phonology and the rest of the grammar and cognitive system. I investigate questions in these areas using computational models and experimental tasks, stemming from my strong commitment to lab-based and computational/statistical methods. In the lab, I’m currently working with Professor Sundara on a project which combines computational modeling and experimental work to examine infants’ sensitivity and timecourse of acquisition of native-language phonotactics. I’m also involved in a related line of research looking at the consequences of different word-segmentation strategies for the infant’s developing grammar.

Canaan Breiss’ Homepage

Jinyoung Jo

I’m a second-year grad student in the linguistics department at UCLA.

I’m interested in phonology and phonetics in general. More specifically, I’m interested in phonological acquisition, child-directed speech, learning biases and productivity of phonological knowledge. My M.A. thesis at Seoul National University investigated learning biases toward phonological non-alternation observed in the speech of English-learning children.



Hiro Katsuda

I’m a second-year grad student in the linguistics department at UCLA. I’m interested in both fieldwork and experimentation. In the Lab, I’m currently working on a project which explores how infants learn to segment words from fluent speech. Specifically, I pit two conflicting segmentation cues in the input to see which cue is more important for English learning infants to segment words, and how they learn each cue.





Minqi Liu

I’m a third-year grad student in the linguistics department at UCLA.
I’m primarily interested in theoretical and experimental syntax. I just finished my MA thesis on the syntax and first language (L1) acquisition of an elliptical structure, namely “sluicing”, in Mandarin Chinese. Recently I’ve also been working on intonation and online processing.

Minqi Liu’ Homepage




Connor Mayer

I’m a fourth year PhD candidate in the linguistics department at UCLA. I am a computational linguist, with a focus on the areas of phonetics and phonology. The questions that guide much of my research are the extent to which linguistic structure is learned vs. innate and how innate biases shape the learning process. I view computation as a tool that can be used to complement empirical and theoretical methodologies, testing claims and providing new predictions. I have used such methodology to probe the role of distributional information in phonological learning, to investigate the ways in which the biomechanics and motor control of the vocal tract shape our speech systems, and to explore the interaction between acoustic cue weighting and vocabulary acquisition, among other topics. I also work extensively on the Uyghur language.

Connor Mayer’s Homepage


Katya Khlystova

Hi! I’m a second year grad student in the UCLA Linguistics Department. My interests encompass just about every aspect of first language acquisition, with a focus on the role of context at the intersection of language development and language processing. I am currently working on an MA thesis which investigates the degree of phonetic variation present in infant directed speech and includes an infant preference study comparing canonical and contextually appropriate allophones. I am also preparing a study on the visual discrimination of languages in different rhythm classes by bilingual infants. Lastly, I am developing a study to probe whether children’s use of context to learn novel words can influence their processing of temporarily ambiguous sentences. I strongly believe that acquisition can inform linguistic theory in powerful ways — for this reason, I am always searching for ways acquisition trajectories can provide novel insights into areas of linguistics that are currently unexplained.


Katya Khylystova’s Homepage