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 fourth-year PhD Candidate in the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University, advised by Dan Jurafsky. I am also an Affiliate Member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) and a Visiting Fellow 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.
B.A. (Hons. I), French
B.Sc., Mathematics/B.A., Philosophy; French
Other academic experience
Summer School. ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Melbourne, Australia
Summer School. ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, Sydney, Australia
Machine Learning Summer School. Sydney, Australia
Winter School on Multilingualism across the Lifespan. Fribourg, Switzerland
Exchange semester. University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Visiting Fellow. College of Asia & the Pacific. Australian National University. Canberra, Australia
Affiliate Member. ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language
Visitor. College of Arts & Social Sciences. Australian National University. Canberra, Australia
, *Bartelds, M., Browne, M., Clifford, L., Gibson, F., Mansfield, J., Nash, D., Simpson, J., Turpin, M., Vollmer, M., Wilmoth, S., & Jurafsky, D. (2021). Leveraging pre-trained representations to improve access to untranscribed speech from endangered languages. Accepted at ARSU 2021. Available on https://arxiv.org/abs/2103.14583
, & Turpin, M. (2021). Text-setting in Kaytetye. In R. Bennett, R. Bibbs, M. Loren Brinkerhoff, M. J. Kaplan, S. Rich, A. Rysling, N. van Handel, & M. Wax Cavallaro (Eds.), Supplemental Proceedings of the 2020 Annual Meeting on Phonology
(pp. 1–9). doi: 10.3765/amp.v9i0.4911
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
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.), To appear in the Open Handbook of Linguistic Data Management. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Harvey, M., San, N.
, Carew, M., Strangways, S., Simpson, J., & Stockigt, C. (2019). Pre-stopping in Arabana. Australian Journal of Linguistics
(4). doi: 10.1080/07268602.2019.1643290
San, N., Proctor, M., Harvey, M., Turpin, M., & Ross, A. Acoustic-phonetic characterization of a small vowel inventory: the case of Kaytetye.
San, N., & van Esch, D. (2019). Accelerating Transcription of Fieldwork Data using Machine Learning. Fieldwork Forum (FForum), UC Berkeley. October, 3.
San, N. (2018). Quantitative methods in linguistics: an overview. Department of Mathematics & Statistics, La Trobe University, Melbourne. February, 8.
, Disbray, S., Foley, B., & Simpson, J. (2019). Towards an extensible, open-source picture dictionary template and processing system. Paper presented at the conference of the Australasian Association for Lexicography (AustraLex). Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3404266
, 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. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3404271
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.
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.
San, N., Bartelds, M., & Jurafsky, D. (2021). Improving Access to Untranscribed Speech by Leveraging Spoken Term Detection and Self-supervised Learning of Speech Representations. Invited non-archival extended abstract presented at SigTyp 2021.
San, N., & Turpin, M. (2020). Text-setting in Kaytetye. Poster presented at the 2020 Annual Meeting on Phonology (Online).
(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
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
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
Examining the acoustic correlates of stress in Kaytetye words. University of Queensland. Supervisor: Myfany Turpin
Teaching, as Teaching Assistant
Phonetics, Winter Quarter (Instructor: Meghan Sumner)
Introduction to Phonology, Winter Quarter (Instructor: Arto Anttila)
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
Semi-automated transcription for Language Documentation with Elpis. Co-presented with Ben Foley, Nicholas Lambourne, and Daan van Esch at the 7th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (Online). University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. March, 5-6
Transcription Acceleration for Language Documentation with ELPIS. Co-presented with Ben Foley and Daan van Esch at the 6th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation. University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. March, 1-2
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 and Cultures
Reviewer, Journal of the Canadian Acoustical Association
Volunteer tutor. Berkeley Public Schools Fund
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)
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