Faculty/Student Research Projects

The Department of Linguistics fosters a collaborative research environment, and encourages the involvement of undergraduate students in research. This page highlights recent examples of collaborative and/or interdisciplinary projects.

Corpus of Hurricane Harvey Narratives

The Department of Linguistics at Rice University is pleased to announce the availability of HONOR (Harvey Oral Narratives on Record), published in July 2020. Honor is a curated corpus of 100 conversational interviews, in which a total of 112 residents of the greater Houston area discuss their experiences with Hurricane Harvey. The corpus consists of 56 hours 17 minutes of audio recordings, associated transcripts, metadata, and documentation. Funding was provided by a Rice HERE (Houston Engagement and Recovery Effort) grant from the Office of the Provost, and Rice Linguistics faculty members Robert Englebretson, Suzanne Kemmer, and Nancy Niedzielski supervised the project. Interviews were conducted during the year after Harvey, from January 27 through November 17, 2018, primarily by Rice undergraduate linguistics students.

The corpus is free for download from Rice's Urban Data Platform at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Audio files are downloadable in two formats, depending on the needs of the researcher: as uncompressed, 16-bit, 44.1kHz, .wav; or as highly-compressed MP3 (VBR audio V6). Transcripts use the Discourse Transcription system outlined in Du Bois et al. (1993), and are downloadable in plain-text ASCII format.

The following link takes you to the catalog page for the MP3 version, which is a 2.24-GB zip file that takes about 2.27 GB of disk space once unzipped (including 4 MB for the transcripts). https://www.kinderudp.org/#/datasetCatalog/2ywjm75e35ag.

Alternatively, the following link takes you to the catalog page for the original uncompressed wav version, which is a 25-GB zip file that will take up about 32 GB of disk space once unzipped https://www.kinderudp.org/#/datasetCatalog/93n5rzy77xw0

In order to download either version, you will need to register your email address by signing up for a free account on Rice's Urban Data Platform, and agree to cite the corpus appropriately. These landing pages also include a PDF file of narrative summaries for the 100 interviews, so that potential users can get a sense of the corpus before downloading.

In sum, the HONOR corpus seeks to honor Houstonians' lived experiences with Harvey and its aftermath, and to provide a rich source of qualitative narrative data for scholars from a range of fields and research interests.

Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research on Braille Reading and Writing

Dr. Robert Englebretson (Linguistics), Dr. Simon Fischer-Baum (Psychological Sciences) and Dr. Cay Holbrook (University of British Columbia, School of Education), have received a grant from the Institute for Education Sciences, (AWARD NUMBER: R324A190093) from September 2019 through August 2023. Their project is titled "Exploring the Knowledge, Skills, and Strategies Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Effectively Teach Braille Reading and Writing", and you can read more about it in this Rice News article from July 2019.

A Basic Sketch Grammar of Gĩkũyũ

The students in the 2014-2015 Field Methods course spent the academic year working with a speaker of Gĩkũyũ. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Englebretson, students wrote a basic sketch grammar as the capstone project for this course. The grammar is available at http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~reng/kik where it is downloadable as a PDF. IN addition, the sketch contains seven texts with gloss and translation, the audio files of which are also downloadable from the above link.

Englebretson, Robert (Ed.), with Wambũi Mũringo Wa-Ngatho (Language Consultant). 2015. A Basic Sketch Grammar of Gĩkũyũ. Rice Working Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 6, Special Issue.