4th ILLC Conference Program

Register for free here


Tuesday June 21

Breakfast in Hagan foyer and registration 9am-10am

Opening 10am-10.15am  
Isabelle Barrière, Molloy Universty & Jonathan Nissenbaum, CUNY Brooklyn College, NSF-REU ILLC Directors Program Directors and Program Coordinator Cass Lowry Introduction
Provost Michelle Piskulich, Molloy University Welcome
Session 1 Oral Presentations: 10.15- 11.25am Multilingualism across modalities and in different clinical populations  
Bilingualism and Autism Manuela Perea, Erin Reilly Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) is a developmental condition that affects how people interact, communicate, and behave.  The symptoms can range from nonverbal to difficulty developing language skills.  Caregivers of children with autism are often hesitant to speak to their children in the home language as they fear it might increase their language difficulties (Ijalba,2016). This fear is a result of being advised not to expose their children to a second language to avoid delaying their language development. (Thordardottir, 2002). However, there is no research to show that being bilingual is detrimental to language development in autistic children (Wang, 2018). On the contrary, autistic bilingual children have displayed social and communicative advantages over autistic monolingual children. (Zhou, 2019).  The purpose of this current study is to learn more about attitudes toward bilingualism and to compare professional perspectives on bilingualism in regard to typically developing children to those on the spectrum.  Parent participants completed a modified questionnaire from Kay-Raining Bird et al. (2012). Participants included 41 parents of typically developing children and 7 parents of autistic children. We hypothesized that caregivers of typically developing children are advised to speak to their children in both languages or not are not getting advice about which languages to speak. On the contrary, we hypothesize that caregivers of autistic children are continuing to get advice about only speaking English to their children based on previous findings (Ijalba, 2016; Thordardottir, 2002).  Data from the questionnaire was compared between the two groups and we found that the results did not agree with our hypothesis. A much greater portion of the typically developing group was advised by a family physician to not raise their child bilingual when compared to the autistic group. However, only one member of the autistic group was advised to not raise their child bilingually by the child’s preschool teachers or daycare providers. In conclusion, professional training and parent education are needed. Physicians need training and education on bilingualism as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder, and families should be encouraged to raise bilingual children.
Processing New Words: A Look Into Bimodal Bilinguals Victoria Toregrossa,, Hia Datta Approximately half of the world’s population is proficient in at least two languages (Grosjean, 2021) and use them in their day to day interactions but despite this, the field of bilingualism is relatively young and little research has been done on the topic (Byers-Heinlein & Lew-Williams, 2013) compared to that on monolingual speakers of English. More specifically, one understudied area pertains to bilinguals who utilize more than one modality for language, (Reynolds, 2016) who are referred to as being bimodal. Little information has been accumulated about how bilingual signers learn their languages (Scott & Hoffmeister, 2018). For example, existing research on spoken languages suggests that bilingual children primarily refer to the social context while monolinguals typically refer to the physical properties of an object when learning new words (Rosenblum & Pinker, 1983; Healey & Skarabela, 2008; Verhagen et al., 2017) however, it is not known whether bimodals also learn new words in this manner. The present study investigates whether there is a difference in how adult monolingual (spoken) English users differ from adult bimodals in how they acquire new spoken nonsense words. More specifically, the focus is on the types of cues bimodals attend to best when presented with novel objects attributed with nonsense names compared to unimodals and monolinguals via video. The independent variables consist of the bimodals (CODAs with verbal and signed modalities), unimodal bilinguals (L1X-L2Engwith verbal modality), monolinguals (verbal English only), and the cues including object cues, pragmatic cues, and the object-pragmatic cues. Object-only cues pertain to an object’s physical attributes, (e.g. size, shape, color) while pragmatic-only cues are meaningful in social contexts when communicating with others (e.g. gesturing, eye gaze, body language). Lastly, object-pragmatic cues are both cues presented simultaneously. The dependent variables consist of the accuracy of the responses and the reaction times for the participants’ responses. Furthermore, two different conditions were present when introducing the nonsense labels with the novel objects: a congruent condition and an incongruent condition. In the congruent condition, both the object and pragmatic cues match when referring to the stimuli while they will not match in the incongruent condition. Another area of investigation examines if the physical appearance of the objects play a role in the participant’s remembrance of them. Pascalis et. al (2011) states most researchers agree that “…adults are experts in face processing and their ability to process faces is tuned by their experience”. Half of the stimuli are animate (will have a face) while the rest are inanimate. According to Pascalis et. al (2011), most researchers agree that “…adults are experts in face processing and their ability to process faces is tuned by their experience”. Thus, the second hypothesis is that the majority of the participants have an easier time labelling the nonsense name with the nonsense objects that are animate.  This study discusses the results of what cues the bimodals attend to most when learning nonsense words attributed to novel objects which contributes to teaching techniques for bilinguals of ASL.  
School policies, practices, and attitudes regarding bilingualism in students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Jaylene Mendoza, Simanique Moody

Coffee break 11.25-11.55 Hagan Foyer

Hagan 339 and online

Session 2 Oral Presentations: 11.55-1.10pm  Speech perception and production: cross-linguistic and clinical perspectives  
Pitch perception, Modified Sine Wave speech, and Cochlear Implants Havi Pham, Katrien Vermeire & Jonathan Nissenbaum
Effects of group speech treatment via telehealth on acoustic measures and self-perception of voice in Parkinson’s Disease Christa Matthew, Gemma Moya-Gale Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that damages dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain. It has motor and nonmotor symptoms. Motor symptoms include slowness of movement, rigidity, tremors, postural instability and speech changes. Speech changes are one of the symptoms that will be focused on within this study. Hypokinetic dysarthria is a motor speech disorder caused by an impairment in the control circuit of the basal ganglia. Monotonicity, a breathy voice, a varied speaking rate, and a lowered volume are all signs of this disorder. Due to COVID-19, many individuals with PD did not have many options when receiving speech treatment. In order to isolate but still communicate with others at a safe distance, online group speech therapy became a viable option. However, there is not much research when it comes to group speech therapy, and specifically, online group speech therapy. Speech for PD is a group speech therapy program at Long Island University (LIU)- Brooklyn that addresses phonation tasks, choral reading, respiratory exercises and cognitive-linguistic exercises to improve intelligibility and social involvement. This study addresses how acoustic measures and self-perceptions of voice in people with PD may change as a result of online group speech therapy. For the current study, 10 participants from LIU Brooklyn’s Speech for PD program were recruited. Assessments were complete before and after the therapy program. Measures of phonation time, utterance length, speech rate, fundamental frequency and the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) were analyzed.  Utterance length, fundamental frequency and the functional subscale of the VHI significantly changed after therapy. These findings suggest modest improvement of speech using online group speech therapy.  
Cross-Linguistic Speech Perception: Testing Identification Accuracy of Spanish and Portuguese Words by Native Spanish and Portuguese Listeners Melanie Rosa-Chaves, Miriam Baigorri Several subtypes of languages continue to preserve similar typological features– surfacing over time within each language respectively (Kabatek & Pusch, 2011). This enhances the communication experience of speakers of mutually intelligible languages through the use of linguistic commonalities (e.g., phonemes, key terms, idiomatic expressions). Best and Tyler (2007)’s findings suggest that “differences in the native language and L2 vowel inventories may render some L2 vowels more difficult to perceive than others.” Similarly, Elvin et al. (2014)’s research indicates vowels that are not present in one’s L1 can negatively impact the accuracy of speech perception in the nonative language. Because vowels carry a large part of the speech signal (Kewley-Port, Burkle, & Lee, 2007), understanding of the non-native language may be reduced due to the differences in L1 and non-native vowel inventories. To our knowledge, little is known about cross-linguistic speech perception of Spanish and Portuguese vowels by Spanish and Portuguese listeners. The purpose of this research is to identify differences in speech perception that are dependent upon vocalic differences in the Spanish and Portuguese languages. More specifically, utilizing the nasalized diphthongs of Portuguese. The Spanish vocalic system consists of five vowels which originate from Classical Latin (/a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, and /u/), whereas the Portuguese vocalic system derives from Vulgar Latin and has twelve vowels (/a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/, /ɔ/, /ε/, /ã/, /ẽ/, /ĩ/, /õ/, and /ũ/). As a result of this notion, we can infer that Portuguese has a more “complex” vocalic system as seen by its extensive use of vocalic sounds as compared to that of Spanish (Alkire & Rosen, 2010). The project aims to survey and investigate the differentiation of cross-linguistic identification accuracy of Spanish and Portuguese words by 15 native Spanish listeners and 15 Portuguese listeners. All Portuguese words contain nasalized diphthongs (e.g., [ão], [õe]). Critical findings may provide information on how a complex vocalic system may further complicate or enhance second language acquisition. Furthermore, the collected data will be used to determine whether these predicted differences are central to native language, a particular vowel, environmental exposure, or a possible culmination of all three. It is hypothesized that a language-specific difference will be observed amongst both groups. More specifically, with Portuguese listeners identifying Spanish words with higher accuracy compared to those of Spanish listeners when identifying Portuguese words.

Lunch 1.10pm-2pm

Poster Presentations session 1: 2pm-3.15pm Vulnerable populations
Does Tinseltown Get Autism? Dramatic Representation of Autism in Popular Media Alyssa Marcolini & Hia Datta, Molloy University
Moderator: Jonathan Nissenbaum

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term for developmental disorders associated with communication deficits and pragmatic impairments (Meng-Chuan et al., 2014; Singer, 2012). Autistic characters appear in fictional films and television shows. Authentic representations lead to acceptance while unrealistic representations lead to stereotyping and isolation (Loftis, 2015). The purpose of this research paper is to analyze the perceptions of ASD through the lens of neurotypical viewers when provided with fictional films and television as stimuli. The present study used electronic survey research to analyze neurotypical perceptions of ASD in popular media. There were 24 English- speaking participants in the study aged 18-30 years old. Participants were stratified according to their exposure to ASD (Familiar, Unfamiliar, SLP/CF). Each participant viewed a television show or film clip. Participants used a Likert scale to rate the likelihood of participating in real-world scenarios with the given character. Results show that across the three groups, participants rated the authenticity of all stimuli similarly. Statistically, familiarity with ASD did not affect the authenticity ratings. Qualitatively, participants in the familiar group provided increased commentary in support of their ratings. Additionally, groups more familiar with ASD are more likely to engage with autistic individuals in social situations than those unfamiliar with autism as evidenced by the social situation scale ratings. Popular media serves as a form of education for neurotypical individuals and influences how ASD is perceived by the public eye. Authentic portrayals of ASD result in an increased likelihood of neurotypical individuals engaging with autistic individuals in social scenarios.
When you have no one to talk to: The effect of isolation on word retrieval abilities of the elderly
Rachel Caldera & Hia Datta, Molloy University
Moderator: Cass Lowry

Loneliness is on the rise in the geriatric population and has detrimental effects on cognitive decline. These deficits occur in word retrieval, the ability to build meaningful relationships, and the ability to continue to function with cognitive integrity (Portacolone et al., 2021). Here I investigate the effects of loneliness, derived from the COVID-19 Pandemic, on word retrieval skills, self-perception of these skills, and overall quality of life in those aged 70-85 years old who live alone in comparison to those who live with a loved one or caregiver. I used Zoom or telephone calls to interact with elderly participants without a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, known uncorrected hearing loss, or known neurological disease/disorder. engaged in a semantic verbal description task and divergent naming tasks to analyze their word retrieval skills and completed a portion of Flanagan’s Quality-of-Life scale with survey questions pertaining to how the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted their communication abilities as well as their overall quality of life. Participants were placed into groups based on their living status. Results show that participants living alone, who stated they felt lonely, performed poorer on both word retrieval tasks, are slightly confident in their abilities, and have an overall poorer quality of life in comparison to those who live with a loved one/caregiver. It is significant to acknowledge that those living alone do not automatically feel lonely. Loneliness is a subjective feeling that can be felt by anyone and is not reliant on the living status of an individual.
Fibro Fog Fatigue: Communication and Relationships of People with Fibromyalgia (FMS)
Sarah Thomas & Hia Datta, Molloy University
Moderator: Molloy University

The present study aimed to investigate how FMS can impact communication and relationships in women ages 20-60 diagnosed with the condition. FMS is a chronic illness categorized by muscular fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and somatic symptoms. It is a condition that primarily affects women, and it is known to be an illness that is difficult to diagnose due to the lack of conventional diagnostic criteria. In regard to communication disorders, it is found that people with FMS can experience general difficulties with speech, respiratory dysfunction, dysphagia, and voice disorders. Being that the oral mechanisms and respiration is impacted, I hypothesize when undergoing an FMS flare-up, women ages 20-60 will experience changes to their speech output, specifically dysarthria, and vocal characteristics will be negatively impacted. Additionally, I hypothesize that the general negative symptoms and speech output difficulties associated with an FMS flare-up negatively affect the relationships and communication of women with FMS ages 20-60. For task #1, experimental and control participants were given respective questionnaires with various questions regarding their communication and relationships. After completing the survey, for task #2, participants were emailed instructions to record themselves reciting 2 voice and speech assessment passages a total of 2 times for each passage. The participants sent these recordings to the researcher for analysis via Praat software. Due to the limited size of this study, the results were inconclusive if patients with FMS experience dysarthria. Based on survey analysis, the hypothesis was confirmed that female patients with FMS experience difficulties with communication and relationships during an FMS flare-up when compared to healthy control participants. The data obtained from Praat analysis concluded that 1 of the FMS participants did exhibit disordered vocal characteristics when undergoing a flare-up.
Presentation 3.15pm- 4pm
Introduction and chair of Q&A
Donald Mitchell Jr., Molloy Vice-President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The launch of the ILLC Journal– the 1st peer-reviewed and international Undergraduate Journal in Linguistics and Speech-Language-Hearing-Communication Sciences:
a)      Undergraduate students: why and how to submit a manuscript
b)      Graduate students: learning to become a reviewer
c)       Faculty: encouraging your undergraduate students to submit and your graduate students to review and volunteering to review
Isabelle Barrière/Molloy University, Jonathan Nissenbaum/Brooklyn College, Nancy Gauvin/University of Pittsburgh, Cass Lowry/Graduate Center, Margareth Lafontant/Developmental Systems, Tabitha Ochtera/Molloy University
Coffee break 4pm-4.30pm
Session 3 Oral Presentations: 4.30pm-5.20 Phonetics, Phonology, Prosody
The Prosodic Features of Questions in Belizean Kriol and Belizean English Among Children in New York City 
Genesia Watters, Valerie Shafer
Interaction of stress and pitch accent Palestinian Arabic Study
Lema Majdalawieh, Faizeh Hamood, Jonathan Nissenbaum
Over the recent years, there has been an increased need for Modern Standard Arabic speakers all over, as well as the different dialects that exist in the language, mainly due to the increased need to connect with the Arab world. However, little work has been put into research on the basic understanding of speech patterns and pitch contour of different dialects. When learning a language, the main objective of the learner is to obtain the most and be able to emulate the speech, sound, and rhythm of a native speaker. Achieving the three mentioned above is made harder without the basic understanding of the aspects of the language, such as phonology. The Palestinian Arabic language presents several physical phonetic properties that create distinctions among the native speakers from Palestine. This study examined the phonology of stress and accent in the Palestinian Arabic language. In particular, the research focused on investigating how the fundamental frequency and duration interact when stress and pitch accent vary. For this reason, the study relied on a three-way distinction for any syllable; accented and stressed syllables, unaccented and stressed syllables, and unstressed syllables. The research was also based on a qualitative study that used an analytical study design to determine the fundamental frequency and duration interaction when stress and pitch accents are varied in Palestinian Arabic speech. 
This process included a sample of nine participants who were native Palestinian Arabic speakers. The individuals selected were adults with ages ranging between 21-53 years old.
The data collection was done with the use of an iPhone to record participants through the voice memos app. The recordings were edited and they were processed through voice analysis software, Audacity in order to analyze our data. Therefore, the six dialogues were recorded and submitted for analysis based on the three variables examined in the study.