Rebecca Lurie Starr

About Me

Thanks for visiting! I am a linguist specializing in language variation, change, and acquisition in multilingual contexts, and the sociophonetic construction of style. After receiving my PhD from Stanford in Linguistics with a designation in Cognitive Science in 2012, I served as an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2013, I moved to Singapore to start my current position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. I work on variation phenomena in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Japanese, with a bit of Korean now and then.

My CV (November, 2019)

Email: rstarr at nus.edu.sg

Twitter: @NUSLinguistics

NWAV-AP 6 Conference

I am co-organizing New Ways of Analyzing Variation - Asia Pacific 6, to be held 19-22 February, 2020 at the National University of Singapore. More information is available on the conference website.

Research

Singapore Multilingual Corpus

The SMC is a project seeking to document and investigate the speech of multilinguals in Singapore, including speakers of Singapore's many heritage languages, such as Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew, Hainanese, Kristang, Baba Malay, and others. Learn more about the project or sign up to participate here.

Voices of Children in Singapore


VOCS is a project I began in 2015 that explores the sociolinguistic development of Singaporean and 'expat' children growing up in Singapore. You can learn more about the English perception aspect of VOCS in our paper in Language in Society; an article on English acquisition is forthcoming in Language Variation and Change, and a chapter is in progress for an edited volume for John Benjamins.

Sociolinguistic variation in two-way language immersion


My book on children's sociolinguistic development in Mandarin-English two-way language immersion was published by Multilingual Matters in 2017 (or possibly in late 2016 -- there seems to be some disagreement on that point!).

The book is based on year-long ethnography I conducted in an American primary school, focusing on how children learn about sociolinguistic variation within each language in a two-way immersion environment in which the teachers do not speak the varieties being targeted by the school. The book also includes an analysis of teacher variation across different classroom situations (e.g., scolding, admin, teaching), and takes a look at corrections in the classroom, including teachers correcting students, students correcting peers, and students correcting teachers. Overall, I demonstrate that children learning a second language in this environment can exploit metalinguistic information and patterns of sociolinguistic variation in their environment to target and acquire a more standard version of a language than that used by their teachers and native-speaker peers.

Other language variation and change projects


Read more about my work on:



Suprasegmental features of ASMR


I am currently carrying out a few projects related to the sociophonetics of the registers used by ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) performers. ASMR performance is an intriguing area of study for sociolinguists, because, as a newly-enregistered sensory experience, we can examine its social construction as it develops across communities and languages. The focus of ASMR on the experience of the human voice, and somatosensory reactions to the voice, also prompts us to reevaluate the extent to which the social meaning of the voice is a wholly ideological construct.


  • Cross-linguistic suprasegmental features of ASMR (slides)
  • The multimodal construction of affective stance among Chinese ASMR performers (slides) (in submission to J Sociolinguistics!)

Other voice quality and style projects


Students


My PhD Students

  • Mihi Park. “Third language acquisition among early bilinguals.” (2016)
  • Tianxiao Wang. “Sibling variation and family language policy among bilingual Chinese Singaporeans.” (2019)
  • A. R. M. Mostafizar Rahman. “Ideological evaluation of linguistic hybridization and its consequences in Bangladesh.” (current)
  • Evynurul Laily Zen. “Linguistic interference among simultaneous and sequential Javanese-Indonesian early bilinguals.” (current)
  • Ghada Farag Sayed Soliman. “Language and the Arab Spring: Shifting norms of language use on Egyptian television amid socio-political instability and change.” (current)
  • Yunbo Mei. “Accent and Identity.” (current)


My MA Students

  • Brinda Balasubramaniam. “Investigating the influence of Singapore’s language policies on family language policy among Tamil-Indian parents in Singapore.” (2019)
  • Rowland Anthony Imperial. “Speech production and sociolinguistic perception in a ‘non-native’ second language context: A sociophonetic study of Korean learners of English in the Philippines.” (2017)
  • Loo May Eng. “Language choice of Chinese migrants in Singapore.” (2016)