My name is Felix Huitian and I am an undergraduate student at Pennsylvania State University. I am a triple major in Italian, History, and International Politics with a minor in Spanish. I have a profound passion for languages and neuroscience; and I intend to enroll into medical school after graduation.
Through the Center of Language Science, I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a research assistant under Dr. Matthew Carlson. In our study, we focus on how two languages, with opposing phonotactic constraints, impact speech perception in Spanish-English bilinguals. For example, English allows words to begin with an /s/+consonant (#sC) cluster at the beginning of a word. Spanish, on the other hand, does not allow an #sC cluster at the beginning of a word and it is repaired with the addition of a vowel, usually an e. Spanish-English bilinguals are able to acquire these two contrasting phonotactic systems and we are looking for evidence of priming; the potential of one language to influence the other. With the help of PIRE, the project will continue in Granada, Spain and I will be able to compare the performances of the two bilingual groups (one in the US, the other in Spain), in terms of priming, using a Lexical Decision Task and other measures.
Beyond research, I am enrolled in free online courses through Coursera, Edx, Learn Liberty, and Future Learn. I constantly expose myself to new ideas and I enjoy making every single day a new learning experience. I've also started experimenting with cooking and it turns out, I can make a really good margherita pizza. Although I have a long road ahead, it is through hard work and dedication that I will be able to reach new heights of intellectual maturity.
I want to take the time and thank the PIRE community for giving me the wonderful opportunity to participate in this venture. My appreciation extends beyond words and I hope my project adds valuable knowledge to linguistics and science. Furthermore, I wish to congratulate my fellow PIRE cohort and wish them the best of luck in terms of their research, their education, and future careers. It is through our combined efforts that we can contribute greatly to the society around us and may we continue to do so as the leaders of tomorrow.
How do two languages with opposing phonotactic constraints impact speech perception in Spanish-English bilinguals?
Pennsylvania State University, USA