In very broad terms, I am fascinated by how linguistic information can be systematically represented, organised, and transformed—both formally, within linguistic theory as well as methodologically, within data structures—, and how the description of under-documented and endangered languages can provide insights into these systems. In particular, I am interested in Australian Aboriginal languages and how quantitative and computational methods can assist in their continued documentation and analyses.

Currently, I am a first-year PhD student in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University. I am also an Affiliate Member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) and a Visitor at the Australian National University (ANU), where I was based prior to Stanford and, where I developed tools and workflows to help clean, process, and transform lexicographical data from several Australian Aboriginal languages (Arabana, Kaytetye, Warlpiri, Warumungu).

Before CoEDL/ANU, I completed a Master of Research (Linguistics) on vowel variation in Kaytetye at Macquarie University and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, and also a Bachelor of Arts (Honours I, French) on the perception of French vowels by Australian-English learners of French at the University of Queensland.

I am also an avid user of R, and am the author/maintainer of several R packages to make dealing with lexicographical (tidylex; yinarlingi) and phonetic data (phonpack) easier.


Where's Nay?

Sep 3, 2019 to Sep 4, 2019
Aug 5, 2019 to Aug 9, 2019
Jun 24, 2019 to Jul 19, 2019

Curriculum Vitae



PhD, Linguistics


M.Res., Linguistics

Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia)

Thesis: A quantitative analysis of vowel variation in Kaytetye

Supervisor: Michael Proctor


B.A. (Hons. I), French

University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia)

Thesis: Perceptual assimilation and categorical discrimination of French vowels by Australian-English learners of French

Supervisors: Barbara Hanna, Michael Tyler


B.Sc., Mathematics/B.A., Philosophy; French

Other academic experience

Dec 2016

Summer School. ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Melbourne, Australia

Dec 2015

Summer School. ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Sydney, Australia

Feb 2015

Machine Learning Summer School. Sydney, Australia

Feb 2012

Winter School on Multilingualism across the Lifespan. Fribourg, Switzerland

Aug–Dec 2010

Exchange semester. University of Lausanne, Switzerland


Jul 2018–pres.

Visitor. College of Arts & Social Sciences. Australian National University. Canberra, Australia

Jul 2018–pres.

Affiliate Member. ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language

Research activity

Papers under review

San, N., Proctor, M., Harvey, M., Turpin, M., & Ross, A. Acoustic-phonetic characterization of a small vowel inventory: the case of Kaytetye.
Harvey, M., San, N., Carew, M., Strangways, S., & Simpson, J. Pre-stopping in Arabana.

Manuscripts in preparation

Miles, K., Boisvert, I., McMahon, C., San, N., Beath, K., Beechey, T., & Lyxell, B. Pupillometry as a measure of effort: methodological considerations for data and statistical analysis.
Foley, B., van Esch, D., & San, N. Managing transcription data for automatic speech recognition with Elpis. In A. Berez-Kroeker, B. McDonnell, E. Koller, & L. Collister (Eds.), The Open Handbook of Linguistic Data Management. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
San, N., & Tyler, M. D. Acquisition and discrimination of vowels by learners varying in foreign-language experience.
San, N., Luk, E., Nash, D., Laughren, M., & Simpson, J. Collaborative processing of legacy lexicographical data at scale.

Invited talks

San, N. (2018). Quantitative methods in linguistics: an overview. Department of Mathematics & Statistics, La Trobe University, Melbourne. February, 8.

Refereed conference proceedings

van Esch, D., Foley, B., & San, N. (2019). Future Directions in Technological Support for Language Documentation. In M. Silfverberg (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Computational Methods for Endangered Languages (ComputEL-3) (Vol. 1). Available on https://scholar.colorado.edu/scil-cmel/vol1/iss1/3
Foley, B., Arnold, J., Coto-Solano, R., Durantin, G., Ellison, T. M., van Esch, D., Heath, S., Kratochvíl, F., Maxwell-Smith, Z., Nash, D., Olsson, O., Richards, M., San, N., Stoakes, H., Thieberger, N., & Wiles, J. (2018). Building Speech Recognition Systems for Language Documentation: The CoEDL Endangered Language Pipeline and Inference System (Elpis). In S. S. Agrawal (Ed.), The 6th Intl. Workshop on Spoken Language Technologies for Under-Resourced Languages (SLTU) (pp. 200–204). Available on https://www.isca-speech.org/archive/SLTU_2018/pdfs/Ben.pdf

Refereed conference presentations

San, N., Proctor, M., Turpin, M., Harvey, M., Ringbauer, K., Ross, A., & Demuth, K. (2015). An acoustic analysis of Kaytetye vowel variability. Paper presented at the 46th Annual Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, Western Sydney University, Australia.
San, N., & Turpin, M. (2014). Acoustic correlates of stress in Kaytetye words. Paper presented at the Workshop on Word Stress & Accent. Leiden University, the Netherlands.
San, N., & Turpin, M. (2014). Acoustic correlates of stress in Kaytetye words. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society (ALS). University of Newcastle, Australia.

Unrefereed conference presentations

San, N., Carne, M., Carew, M., Harvey, M., Hercus, L., & Simpson, J. (2018). An acoustic analysis of pre-stopping in Arabana. Paper presented at the 18th Australian Languages Workshop (ALW). Marysville, Victoria.
San, N. (2017). A corpus-based approach to vocalic contrasts in Kaytetye. Paper presented at the Corpus Workshop of the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. Melbourne, Australia.
San, N. (2015). Visualising the articulatory characteristics of Kaytetye coronal consonants. Paper presented at the Building Corpora for Australian Languages workshop. Australian National University, Canberra.
San, N., Proctor, M., Turpin, M., Harvey, M., Ringbauer, K., Ross, A., & Demuth, K. (2015). Variability of vowels in Kaytetye words. Paper presented at the Arandic Phonetics & Phonology Workshop. Alice Springs, NT, Australia.

Refereed conference posters

San, N. (2016). Using version control to facilitate a reproducible and collaborative workflow in acoustic phonetics. In C. Carignan & M. D. Tyler (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association conference (pp. 341–344). Available on http://www.assta.org/sst/2016/papers/San_SST2016.pdf

Unrefereed conference posters

San, N. (2013). The perception of French vowels by Australian-English-speaking learners. Poster presented at the 21st Annual Conference of the Australian Society of French Studies (ASFS). The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Honours and Awards


Summer Research Scholarship (Linguistics). Australian National University


Research Training Pathway Scholarship, Year 2. Macquarie University


Research Training Pathway Scholarship, Year 1. Macquarie University


G.M. Grassie Memorial Prize. University of Queensland


Dean's Commendations for Academic Excellence. University of Queensland


Summer Research Scholarship (Linguistics). University of Queensland


Exchange student allowance. University of Lausanne, Switzerland


Travel grant for exchange studies. University of Queensland


Summer Research Scholarship (Mathematics). University of Queensland


Summer Research Scholarship (Mathematics). University of Queensland



San, N., Foley, B., Disbray, S., Turpin, M. and Simpson, J. Towards an extensible, open-source picture dictionary template and processing system. Transdisciplinary and Innovation Grant from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. AUD 19,809


Harvey, M., Hercus, L., Carew, M. and San, N. Metrical prominence and pre-stopping in Arabana. Language Documentation Grant from the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. AUD 10,992

Research Assistantships


Warlpiri Lexicography Project. Australian National University. Supervisor: Jane Simpson


Developing Yerrampe: A Kaytetye-to-English multimedia dictionary. Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Supervisor: Myfany Turpin


Investigating tongue shaping of Kaytetye obstruents using ultrasound imaging. Macquarie University. Supervisors: Michael Proctor & Katherine Demuth

Feb–Jun 2014

Examining the acoustic correlates of stress in Kaytetye words. University of Queensland. Supervisor: Myfany Turpin



Teaching, as Teaching Assistant

Macquarie University


Speech Physiology, Semester 1 (Instructor: Michael Proctor)

University of Queensland


Calculus & Linear Algebra I (4 Semesters; Instructor: Phil Isaac)


Calculus & Linear Algebra II (4 Semesters; Instructor: Phil Isaac)


Multivariate Calculus & Differential Equations, Semester 1 (Instructor: Phil Isaac)


Discrete Mathematics I, Semester 2 (Instructor: Murray Elder)

Teaching, as Workshop Instructor


Docker: An overview for linguists. Presented at the Transcription Acceleration Project workshop. Melbourne, Australia. February, 4


Visualise your own vowels: A short introduction to Praat for beginners. 1-day tutorial at the Summer School of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. Canberra, Australia. November, 29


Formalising data structures with the Nearley toolkit. University of Queensland. September, 28


Introduction to data wrangling using R. University of Melbourne, Australia. May, 1


A beginner’s guide to programming in R and Matlab. Child Language Lab, Macquarie University. May, 4


LaTeX for Linguistics. School of Languages & Comparative Cultural Studies. University of Queensland. Weekly tutorials, April–May

Guest Lectures and Public Outreach


The building blocks of spoken language. Presentation to visiting final-year high schoolers at the National Youth Science Forum. Australian National University. Canberra, Australia. January, 10

Other Teaching Experience


Freelance English language instructor. Passmore College, Marburg, Germany


Foreign language teaching assistant. Ministry of Education, Aurillac, France


University of Queensland


Honours students representative, Semester 2. School of Languages & Comparative Cultural Studies



Reviewer, Journal of the Canadian Acoustical Association

Non-academic service


Volunteer tutor. Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services, Canberra


Volunteer. Refugee Action Coalition. Sydney


English (native), French (proficient, CEFR C1), German (conversational, CEFR B2), Burmese (heritage)

Technical Skills


R, LaTeX, Matlab, full-stack web development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript + jQuery, Node.js); Docker containerization; configuring Continuous Testing/Continuous Integration services (Travis CI, GitLab)


Familiarity with processing to/from SQL (MySQL/Postgres/MariaDB), XML, JSON, columnar tab-/comma-separated values, Toolbox lexicon files, Praat TextGrid annotation files; writing custom parsers for domain-specific data formats; developing and deploying data-cleaning and -validation pipelines


Outside academia, I enjoy doing a bunch of things—such as cycle touring, photographing folks, cooking with friends, and writing creative non-fiction—and sometimes I put those things up on https://things.resunay.com.