Dr. Conklin’s research experience in second language acquisition, vowel acoustics, laboratory phonology, and Germanic languages.

Her dissertation research at Purdue University focused on understanding the synchronic interactions between similar phonetic and phonological processes, particularly the influence of vowel harmony on vowel-to-vowel coarticulation, with individual case studies in Spanish, Tatar, and Hungarian.

Her current work is divided among two research areas. One strand focuses on the acquisition of vowel reduction by bilinguals, primarily considering the acquisition of English reduced vowels by Spanish native speakers. Studies in this vein examine the acoustics of vowel reduction by bilinguals and its relationship to various extra-linguistic factors such as language attitudes, age of acquisition, and language exposure. Future work will consider whether the acquisition of reduction leads to phonetic drift in the L1.

The second focus of her current research is on better understanding the formal and cognitive restrictions on harmony processes. In this line of research, she is using artificial grammar learning techniques to explore learnability biases that limit the range of possible harmony processes that can arise in natural language.