As an undergraduate student, Jiseung Kim majored in English Language and Literature at Hanyang University in South Korea. She was initially more interested in the literary aspect of her major, but her interest in the structures of speech sounds grew when she took Professor Susan Guion’s Phonology class. Excited to learn more, Jiseung took several linguistics courses while attending the University of Oregon for one year as an exchange student. In 2013, Jiseung graduated with an MA in English Linguistics from Hanyang University and began her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.
Jiseung’s primary research interests include phonetics and prosody, and her main advisors are Professor Pam Beddor and Professor Jelena Krivokapić. Under their guidance, Jiseung has completed her Qualifying Research Paper (QRP), titled “Prosodic Accommodation of Seoul Korean Accentual Phrase,” which investigates how native listeners of Seoul Korean accommodate (i.e., adopt a new phonetic variant in their speech) after being exposed to a prosodic pattern that is novel to their variety of Korean. Jiseung’s study showed evidence of accommodation, and she presented her findings at several international conferences including Speech Prosody 2016, LabPhon 15 (in 2016), and the 4th Workshop on Sound Change (in 2017), where she received the award for Best Student Paper. See Prosodic accommodation as a driver of sound change: accommodation in Seoul Korean Accentual Phrase.”
Jiseung’s dissertation is grounded in the understanding that individual speakers differ systematically from each other in how they convey prosodic structure. It focuses on how these individual speaker differences are manifested in signaling prosodic boundaries in American English, and tests whether the individuals’ own strategies for producing prosodic boundaries are reflected in their perception. Her independent research projects have been funded by the Linguistics Department Block Grant, the Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant, the Rackham Humanities Research Fellowship, the Barbour Scholarship, and an International Phonetic Association Student Award for ICPhS 2019.
In addition to her QRP and dissertation, Jiseung has worked as a research assistant in the pause study conducted by Professor Krivokapić. The study investigates whether there is a specific vocal tract configuration associated with the edges of Intonational Phrase boundaries, and what the functions of the configuration would be. Jiseung says she enjoyed working on this project very much because she has been interested in Articulatory Phonology for a long time.
Jiseung also participated in The Humanities Collaboratory project “From Africa to Patagonia: Voices of Displacement,” led by Professor Nicholas Henriksen in the Romance Languages Department. This large-scale, interdisciplinary study involves researchers of different levels and backgrounds who collectively investigate how language interacts with cultural identity in a diglossia situation involving Afrikaans and Spanish. Jiseung says it was a great learning opportunity in which she worked with a diverse and enthusiastic group of undergraduate research assistants.