Jeff Mielke

I study linguistic sound patterns using laboratory and computational techniques. Sound patterns are of interest because they are fundamentally arbitrary, so they are a good testing ground for studying the interaction of physiological, cognitive, social, and other factors. Different sound patterns reflect these influences to different degrees. In recent years I have been particularly interested in segmental phonology, and the use of distinctive features to model it. I am also very interested in idiosyncratic phonological patterns, such as English /r/ allophony, and I am organizing a conference on sources of individual differences in language (particularly the Autism spectrum) in March of 2012.

In the Sound Patterns Laboratory (funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation), we use ultrasound imaging and other techniques to study speech production and perception in English, French, and other languages, and we develop computational tools for processing the massive amounts of data generated by our experiments. This laboratory work is complemented by computational modeling of language change and language acquisition, and by quantitative work with two databases developed in our lab and during my time at Ohio State and Arizona: P-base, a database of phonological patterns in 628 language varieties (funded by my current SSHRC grant), and the Similarity Database, which includes multimodal data on the production of 130 crosslinguistically frequent consonants and vowels (funded by an earlier SSHRC grant).


On-line tools

Ultrasound videos of American English consonants and vowels.

The vowel plot assignment. Follow the instructions and have plots of your acoustic vowel space e-mailed to you automatically. This is used for LIN1320, but participation is not limited to LIN1320 students.

P-base segment inventory search.

Research areas

Phonetic and phonological databases

  • (in press) Mielke, Jeff. A phonetically-based metric of sound similarity. Lingua. special issue on phonological similarity.
  • (2009) Mielke, Jeff. A phonetically-based phonetic similarity metric. 40th meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS), MIT.
  • (2009) Mielke, Jeff and Joseph Roy. Measuring articulatory similarity with algorithmically reweighted principal component analysis (poster). 157th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Portland.
  • (2007 -- present) Mielke, Jeff. Phonetic similarity database. A database of multimodal phonetic data for 130 consonants and vowels.
  • (2004 -- present) Mielke, Jeff. P-base. A database of sound patterns in 500+ languages (P-base 1.95 in Python/Tk, P-base 3 in SQL/CGI/HTML).
  • (2008 -- present) Blevins, Juliette and Jeff Mielke. Handbook of Phonological Change. A database of historical sound changes.
  • Modeling

  • (in prep) Lin, Ying, and Jeff Mielke. Learning place and manner features from acoustic and articulatory data. In preparation for Journal of Phonetics.
  • (2009) Mielke, Jeff. Accepting unlawful variation and unnatural classes: a model of phonological generalization. In Caroline Féry, Ruben van de Vijver and Frank Kügler, eds., Variation and Gradience in Phonetics and Phonology. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 17-42.
  • (2008) Lin, Ying, and Jeff Mielke. Discovering Place and Manner Features - What Can Be Learned from Acoustic and Articulatory Data?. In Joshua Tauberer, Aviad Eilam, and Laurel MacKenzie, eds., Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 14.1: 241-254.
  • (2005) Mielke, Jeff. Modeling distinctive feature emergence. In John Alderete et al., eds., Proceedings of the 24th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. 281-289.
  • Features

  • (accepted) Mielke, Jeff. Phonologization and the typology of feature behaviour. In Alan Yu, eds., Origins of sound change: Approaches to phonologization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • (in press) Jeff Mielke. The nature of distinctive features and the issue of natural classes (section in multi-authored chapter on Phonological Structure). In Abigail C. Cohn, Cécile Fougeron, and Marie K. Huffman, eds., Handbook of Laboratory Phonology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 185-196.
  • (2011) Diana Archangeli, Adam Baker, and Jeff Mielke. Categorization and Features: Evidence from American English /r/. In G.N. Clements and Rachid Ridouane, eds., Where do phonological contrasts come from? Cognitive, physical and developmental bases of phonological features. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 175-195.
  • (2011) Jeff Mielke. Distinctive Features. In Marc van Oostendorp, Colin Ewen, Elizabeth Hume, and Keren Rice, eds., Companion to Phonology. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • (2008) Jeff Mielke. Emergent Feature Theory. In Edwards, Midtlyng, Sprague, and Stensrud, eds., CLS 41: The Panels. Proceedings from the Panels of the 41st Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Volume 41-2. Chicago: CLS. 259-273.
  • (2008) The Emergence of Distinctive Features. Oxford: Oxford University Press. xviii, 280 p.

  • (2008) Jeff Mielke. Distinctive feature emergence in acquisition and diachrony. Colloquium talk, University of Rochester Center for Language Sciences.
  • (2008) Jeff Mielke. Learning phonological features from different kinds of evidence. Bilingual Workshop in Theoretical Linguistics/Atelier bilingue de linguistique th├⌐orique (BWTL/ABLT) 12, Ottawa.
  • (2007) Jeff Mielke. Unnatural classes and the class-pattern connection. Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto Phonology Workshop, Ottawa.
  • (2006) Jeff Mielke. Moving beyond innate features: a unified account of natural and unnatural classes. In Leah Bateman and Cherlon Ussery, eds., Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society. Volume 2. 435-450.
  • (2006) Jeff Mielke. Emergent features: evidence from natural classes in 561 languages. In Michal Temkin Martínez, Asier Alcázar, Roberto Mayoral Hernández, eds., Proceedings of the thirty-third Western Conference On Linguistics 236-247.
  • (2005) Jeff Mielke. Ambivalence and ambiguity in laterals and nasals. Phonology 22.2: 169-203.
  • (2005) Jeff Mielke and Elizabeth Hume. Distinctive Features. In Brown, K., eds., Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics 2nd edition. Oxford: Elsevier.
  • Articulation

  • (in press) Baker, Adam, Diana Archangeli, and Jeff Mielke. Variability in English s-Retraction Suggests a Solution to the Actuation Problem. Language Variation and Change 23.3.
  • (2011) Jeff Mielke. An articulatory study of rhotic vowels in Canadian French. Proceedings of the Canadian Acoustical Association.
  • (2011) Jeff Mielke, Kenneth S. Olson, Adam Baker, and Diana Archangeli. Articulation of the Kagayanen interdental approximant: An ultrasound study. Journal of Phonetics 39.3: 403-412.
  • (2011) Falahati, Reza, and Jeff Mielke. An ultrasound study of coronal stop deletion in Persian. Proceedings of the Canadian Acoustical Association.
  • (2010) Jeff Mielke, Adam Baker, and Diana Archangeli. Variability and homogeneity in American English /r/ allophony and /s/ retraction. Variation, Detail, and Representation. (LabPhon 10). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 699-719.
  • (2009) Jeff Mielke. Using ultrasound to study articulatory variation. New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 38, Ottawa.
  • (2008) Baker, Adam, Jeff Mielke, and Diana Archangeli. More velar than /g/: consonant coarticulation as a cause of diphthongization. In Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie, eds., Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. 60-68.
  • (2007) Jeff Mielke. Are we looking at the same thing? (ultrasound images across laboratories). Ultrafest 4, NYU.
  • (2005) Jeff Mielke, Adam Baker, Diana Archangeli, and Sumayya Racy. Palatron: a technique for aligning ultrasound images of the tongue and palate. In Daniel Siddiqi and Benjamin V. Tucker, eds., Coyote Papers. vol. 14. 97-108.
  • (2005) Archangeli, Diana, and Jeff Mielke. Ultrasound Research in Linguistics. Linguistics Association of the Southwest (LASSO) 2005, Lubbock.
  • (2005) Jeff Mielke, Adam Baker, and Diana Archangeli. An ultrasound study of excrescent schwa before /r/ and /l/ in English. Ultrafest 3, Tucson.
  • Perception

  • (2009) Jeff Mielke. Interplay between perceptual salience and contrast: /h/ perceptibility in Turkish, Arabic, English and French. In Peter Avery, Elan Dresher, and Keren Rice, eds., Contrast in Phonology: Perception and Acquisition. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 197-216.
  • (2007) Alina Twist, Adam Baker, Diana Archangeli, and Jeff Mielke. Are 'covert' /r/ Allophones Really Indistinguishable?. In Toni Cook and Keelan Evanini, eds., Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 13.2: 207-216.
  • (2003) Jeff Mielke. The Interplay of Speech Perception and Phonology: Experimental Evidence from Turkish. Phonetica 60.3: 208-229.
  • (2003) Jeff Mielke. The Diachronic Influence of Perception: Experimental Evidence from Turkish. Proceedings of the 29th annual meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society.
  • Misc phonology

  • (accepted) Archangeli, Diana, Jeff Mielke, and Douglas Pulleyblank. From Sequence Frequencies to Conditions in Bantu Vowel Harmony: Building a grammar from the ground up. Phonology in the 21st Century: In Honour of Glyne Piggott (McGill Working Papers in Linguistics).
  • (in press) Jeff Mielke, Lyra Magloughlin, and Elizabeth Hume. Evaluating the effectiveness of Unified Feature Theory and three other feature systems. Tones and Features: In Honor of G. Nick Clements. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • (in press) Hall, Daniel Currie, and Jeff Mielke. Distinctive Features. Oxford Bibliographies Online: Linguistics.
  • (2011) Mackie, Scott, and Jeff Mielke. Feature economy in natural, random, and synthetic inventories. In G.N. Clements and Rachid Ridouane, eds., Where do phonological contrasts come from? Cognitive, physical and developmental bases of phonological features. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 43-63.
  • (2011) Jeff Mielke. Large scale accessories for large scale phonetics research. Proceedings of New Tools and Methods for Very-Large-Scale Phonetics Research.
  • (2011) Archangeli, Diana, Jeff Mielke, and Douglas Pulleyblank. From sequence frequencies to conditions in Bantu vowel harmony. Phonology in the 21st Century: In Honour of Glyne Piggott (McGill Working Papers in Linguistics).
  • (2010) Jeff Mielke. The frequency of segmental alternations: implications for sociolinguistic variation. New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 39, San Antonio (poster).
  • (2009) Jeff Mielke. Segment Inventories. Blackwell Language and Linguistics Compass 32.3: 700-718.
  • (2008) Jeff Mielke. Multiple mechanisms of change and influence: Comments on Harrington, Gussenhoven, Gow and McMurray, and Munson. In Jennifer S. Cole and Jose Hualde, eds., Change in Phonology. (LabPhon 9). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 229-40.
  • (2007) Archangeli, Diana, and Jeff Mielke. New Techniques in Sound Pattern Research. 2007 Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute, Stanford.
  • (2003) Jeff Mielke, Mike Armstrong, and Elizabeth Hume. Looking through opacity. Theoretical Linguistics 29.1-2: 123-139.
  • (2003) Jeff Mielke and Andrea Sims. Step forward if you are always marked... Not so fast, Labial].. Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto Phonology Workshop, Toronto.
  • (2001) Jeff Mielke and Elizabeth Hume. Considerations of Word Recognition for Metathesis. In Hume, E, N. Smith and J. van de Weijer, eds., Surface Syllable Structure and Segment Sequencing. Leiden: HIL. 135-158.
  • (2000) Jeff Mielke and Elizabeth Hume. Review of C. Gussenhoven and H. Jacobs (1998) Understanding Phonology. Phonology 17.2: 281-286.
  • Misc phonetics

  • (2010) Kenneth S. Olson, Jeff Mielke, Josephine Sanicas-Daguman, Carol Jean Pebley, and Hugh Paterson III. The phonetic status of the (inter)dental approximant. Journal of the International Phonetic Assocation 40.2: 199-215.
  • (2010) Cristià, Alejandrina, Jeff Mielke, and Sharon Peperkamp. Phonetic features guide phonotactic generalizations in perception. 160th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Cancún (poster).
  • (2008) Kenneth S. Olson and Jeff Mielke. Acoustic properties of the interdental approximant in Kagayanen. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 123(5): 3460.
  • (2007) Olson, Kenneth S., and Jeff Mielke. Acoustic properties of the Kagayanen vowel space. In Jürgen Trouvain and William J. Barry, eds., Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences. Pirrot GmbH: Dudweiler. 845-848.
  • (2005) Bryan Meadows, Gwanhi Yun, Diana Archangeli, Jeff Mielke, and Elizabeth Lukes. Pedagogical Implications of Ultrasound Technology in the Second Language Acquisition of English by Native Korean Speakers. Linguistics Association of the Southwest (LASSO) 2005, Lubbock.
  • (2003) Jeff Mielke and Amanda Reiter. Stop-stop assimilation in American English connected speech. 2003 Buckeye Language Processing Conference, Columbus.
  • Education:

    2004 Ph.D. in Linguistics, Ohio State
    1999 M.A. in Linguistics, Ohio State
    1997 B.A. in Linguistics (Minor in Mathematics), University of Washington
    1997 B.A. in Japanese, University of Washington

    Employment and Associations:

    2006-present: Assistant Professor, Linguistics, University of Ottawa.
    2009-present: Adjunct Research Professor, Institute of Cognitive Science, Carleton University.
    2008-2010: Database Consultant, MPI-EVA.
    2004-2006: Postdoctoral researcher, APIL, Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona.


    University of Ottawa

  • LIN8998, Professional seminar (Au2009)
  • LIN7933, Seminar in Linguistics II, Distinctive features in the 21st century (Wi2008)
  • LIN7930, Topics in Theoretical Linguistics I - Sound Patterns in the Laboratory (Au2010)
  • LIN6915, Phonology II (Wi2012)
  • LIN5915, Phonology I (Au2006, Wi2008, Wi2009)
  • LIN4392/7930, Topics in Linguistics II, Computational tools for linguistics, emphasis on phonology (Wi2007)
  • LIN2320, Introduction to Phonology (Au2006, Au2008, Au2009, Au2011)
  • LIN1320, Introduction to Linguistics II: The Sounds (Wi2007, Wi2008, Wi2009, Wi2010, Wi2011, Wi2012)
  • Ohio State

  • LINGUIST 603.02, Phonological Theory II (co-instructor, Wi2003)
  • LINGUIST 365, Language Across Cultures (Sp2002)
  • LINGUIST 201, Introduction to Language (Au1999, Wi2000, Au2001, Wi2002, Au2002)
  • LINGUIST 170, The Basics of Learning a Language (Teaching assisitant, Sp2003)
  • Contact:

    Arts Hall Room 401
    70 Laurier Ave East
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1N 6N5

    phone: (613) 562-5800 ext. 2701

    fax: (613) 562-5141

    jmielke at uOttawa dot ca


    Other things (music, photos, etc)

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    Last updated: 2007.11.16