Institutions: McGill University, Department of Linguistics
Research interests: Language processing; Prosody; Intonation; Speech production; Pragmatics
Michael Wagner is investigating sentence prosody, that is, sentence pronunciation patterns that effect sentence structure, meaning, and interpretation. He does so by integrating insights from different disciplines, ranging from signal processing to modeling the meaning of prosody. His main research tools are speech production and speech perception experiments that aim at a better understanding of three questions: (i) What information does a speaker encode in the prosody of a sentence? (ii) How is this information decoded by the listener when processing speech? And (iii) How do languages differ in their prosodic systems? Michael Wagner’s work tries to deepen our understanding of the human language capability, but it also has potential implications in a wide range of areas, including language instruction, speech therapy, improving comprehensibility of synthesized speech, and improving speech recognition systems.