Lab Members


Dr. Anne-Michelle Tessier

Lab Director

Anne-Michelle (Ph.D. 2007, UMass Amherst) is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at UBC. She is a phonologist specializing in acquisition, constraint-based grammars, learning algorithms, and child L1 and L2 production.  She previously held faculty and researcher appointments at the University of Alberta, SFU and the Center for Human Growth and Development (UMichigan). In 2015, she published a textbook “Phonological Acquisition: Child Language and Constraint-Based Grammar” (Palgrave Macmillan). She is currently PI of a SSHRC Insight Grant (2015-2021) studying L2 English production and perception among adults and children, especially among young and recently-arrived immigrants.

Photo Credit: J. Craft


Howard (Basic Obedience, 2019), has been interested in language acquisition as long as he can remember, and is particularly focused on inter-species communicative development. His research emphasizes the role of IDS and extreme pitch excursions as a function of speaker, context and treat value, and the importance of head tilt, trying not to jump, and extreme tail wagging in discourse. He is also a very good boy.


Oscar is a new addition to the team. Coming from a previous learning group which emphasized consuming as much grass and taking as many naps as possible. He is currently focused on being adorable in Zoom meetings. He hopes to transition soon into a role as a test case for (very) slow language learning.

Graduate Researchers

Alexander Angsongna

Graduate Student

Alex is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. He received his BA in Linguistics and English from the University of Ghana and his MA in Linguistics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Alex’s main research is on morphology/phonology. Some topics he focuses on within this broader area include : ATR harmony, rounding, lengthening, diphthongization, tonal polarity and number marking. Alex’s other research interests include the syntax-semantics of complex constructions such as serial verb constructions (SVCs), double object constructions (DOCs), multi-verb constructions (MVCs) and multi-aspectual constructions (MACs).

Roger Lo

Roger Lo

Graduate Student

Roger is a PhD candidate in UBC’s Department of Linguistics. His research focuses on understanding speech production and perception through corpus studies, experiments, and modeling. He is also interested in quantitative analysis and information visualization, and hopes that intersecting quantitative approaches with linguistics will bring out more insight into human language. Outside linguistics, he enjoys calligraphy, food, and, of course, learning languages.

Alex Nastevski

Graduate student

Alex is a PhD student in the linguistics programme at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Her research foci include paradigm gaps and ineffability, long-distance assimilation, computational morphophonology, and the phonology of non-modal phonation. Alex is interested in using artificial languages to see if and how people can learn phonological and morphological patterns; specifically, how this learning can be best captured using computational and mathematical models. She enjoys playing video games and pretending that she is being chased by zombies as motivation for running outside.

Starr Sandoval

Graduate student

Starr is a first year MA student in the UBC Department of Linguistics. Her research focuses on child language acquisition and its intersection with syntax, semantics, and language variation. She is currently involved in a project on the acquisition of French Liaison with Anne-Michelle. Outside of linguistics, she enjoys photography and spending time with her cats.

Kaili Vesik

Graduate student

Kaili is a PhD student in the Linguistics Department at UBC, supervised by Dr Anne-Michelle Tessier. Her linguistic interests involve phonology, music, Estonian, learning algorithms, and building computational tools to support theoretical research. Her current research focuses on vowel length in sung Estonian. Outside of academia, you’ll most likely find Kaili singing, sewing, hiking, running, or skiing.

Sijia Zhang

Graduate Student

Sijia is an MA student in the Department of Linguistics at UBC. She received her BA (hon) in Linguistics from McGill University. Her research focuses on second language (L2) acquisition of phonology (with a particular interest in L1 Mandarin Chinese learners of English). Specifically, she is interested in investigating how L1 constraints are transferred into L2 production and what learning strategies are employed by advanced L2 learners. She is also interested in studying the prosodic properties of languages through experimental approaches and fieldwork, including Mandarin rhythmic pattern and tone sandhi processes, as well as the stress system in Malagasy. Outside of linguistics, you may find her playing the piano, doing Zumba, or cooking.