Asimina Syrika

Research Scientist
Callier Center for Communication Disorders, UT-Dallas


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Research Interests

My main research interests are in speech acoustics, speech perception, and phonological acquisition (http://www.ling.ohio-state.edu/~edwards/). My PhD dissertation was on the role of acoustic-perceptual salience on consonant cluster acquisition.  Specifically, I examined the typical acquisition of initial /s/-stop and stop-/s/ sequences in Greek by combining methods from phonetic transcription, naive adult perception, and psychoacoustics to provide a more comprehensive understanding of children's acquisition of consonant sequences.

In addition to phonological acquisition, I am interested in the study of linguistic variation and in recent work (in collaboration with Eun Jong Kong and Jan Edwards at UW-Madison Waisman Center) I have tried to integrate my interests in Modern Greek phonetics and phonology with my interests in the study of variation and change.  This work (currently in progress) focuses on the acoustic characteristics of voiced stop prenasalization and velar softening in different regional varieties of Modern Greek.

As a research scientist at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at UT-Dallas I continue to study speech, extending the experimental paradigm to include electromagnetic articulography (EMA) to study the kinematic properties of consonant clusters in different languages.  I have recently begun conducting articulatory-kinematic studies of inter-gestural timing in consonant cluster productions by typical adults who are native speakers of Greek, English, or Spanish.  This work is done in collaboration with William F Katz (http://www.utdallas.edu/~wkatz/).  The goal is to enhance our understanding of articulatory complexity in light of recent proposals of gestural coordination and speech motor control, with the addition of articulatory data from less studied languages, like Greek.  

In the future, I would like to examine consonant cluster productions in atypical populations, as well, such as adults with apraxia of speech or speech motor control problems (e.g., stuttering), especially as they relate to intervention approaches during speech therapy.
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Educational Background

Fall 2010 - present
Research Scientist, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX USA

2005 - 2010
Ph.D. Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI USA
Dissertation: Consonant cluster acquisition in Greek: Evidence from transcription, perception, and psychoacoustics

2003-2004
MSc Applied Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Thesis: Acquisition of politeness markers in Modern Greek: A cross-sectional study

1999-2003
B.A. (Ptychion) English Language and Literature, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

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Selected Publications

Syrika, A., Nicolaidis, K., Edwards, J. R., and Beckman, M. E. (in press, 2011).  Acquisition of initial /s/-stop and stop-/s/ sequences in Greek.  Paper accepted for publication in Language and Speech.

Okalidou, A., Syrika, A., Beckman, M. E., and Edwards, J. R. (2011).  Adapting a receptive vocabulary test for preschool-aged Greek-speaking children.  International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 46 (1): 95-107.  
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Conference Presentations

Syrika, A., Edwards, J. R., Fourakis, M., Kong, E-J., Munson, B., and Beckman, M. E. (2010).  Why [spa] not [psa]? On the perceptual salience of initial /s/-stop and stop-/s/ sequences.  Poster presented at the 159th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 19-23 April 2010, Baltimore, MD.

Syrika, A., Li, F., Kong, E-J., Edwards, J. R., Beckman, M. E., and Munson, B. (2009).  Coarticulation of /s/ with following or preceding stop in Greek consonant sequences.  Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Greek Linguistics, 29-31 October 2009, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Syrika, A., Li, F., Kong, E-J., Edwards, J. R., Beckman, M. E., and Munson, B. (2009).  Transitional cues in fricative noise in Greek /s/-stop and stop-/s/ sequences: Children vs. adults.  Poster presented at the 158th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 26-30 October 2009, San Antonio, TX.

Syrika, A., Edwards, J. R., Li, F., and Beckman, M. E. (2008).  Covert contrast in the acquisition of stop-/s/ sequences in Greek.  Poster presented at the 2008 Annual ASHA convention, 26-30 October 2008, Chicago, IL.

Syrika, A., Edwards, J. R., Li, F., and Beckman, M. E. (2008).  Covert contrast in the acquisition of stop-/s/ sequences in Greek.  Poster presented at the Child Phonology Conference, 2-3 June 2008, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

Nicolaidis, K., Syrika, A., Edwards, J. R., and Beckman, M. E. (2007).  Obstruent production by Greek-speaking children with atypical phonological development.  Paper presented at the 14th International Conference of the Greek Applied Linguistics Association: Advances in Research on Language Acquisition and Teaching, 14-16 December 2007, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Syrika, A., Nicolaidis, K., Edwards, J. R., and Beckman, M. E. (2007).  Acquisition of consonant clusters by Greek-speaking children: The case of initial /s/-stop and stop-/s/ sequences.  Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Greek Linguistics, August 29-September 2 2007, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.

Syrika, A., Edwards, J. R., Nicolaidis, K., and Beckman, M. E. (2007).  Acquisition of consonant clusters by Greek-speaking children: Word-initial /s/-stop and stop-/s/ sequences.  Poster presented at the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders (SRCLD), 7-9 June 2007, Madison, WI.

Tserdanelis, G., Beckman, M. E., Kong, E-J., Li, F., and Syrika, A. (2005).  Comparing Greek, English and Japanese velar and palatal(ized) stops. Paper presented at the 7th International Conference on Greek Linguistics, 8-10 September 2005, York, UK.
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About me

I was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and lived there until the age of 22.  My dad is from Chalkidiki, Greece and my mom is from Limassol, Cyprus.  I have a younger brother who lives in Greece.  I speak several languages, including Greek (native), English, French and Italian.  I have recently begun learning Spanish, which is widely spoken in Texas.  In my free time I enjoy cooking, traveling, reading, listening to music and watching movies.
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Contact Info

[email protected]
1966 Inwood Road
Callier Center at UT-Dallas
Dallas, TX 75235, USA

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Updated on Feb 14, 2011