December 17, 2015

Congratulations Charlotte

Today Charlotte learned that she achieved first class honours. Congratulations Charlotte!

RIPPLE newsletter containing loads of stories about our team

The latest RIPPLE newsletter contains loads of stories about our team, including an interview with Helen Blake, and awards won by Sarah Masso and Suzanne Hopf.

Graduation congratulations continue

Today my son graduated from CSU and my daughter received her high school results. I am very proud of both of them: their achievements to date, and their goals for the future.
The CSU Media tweet is here.

December 16, 2015

RIPPLE PhD graduates

Today the RIPPLE PhD graduates (Dr Tina Stratigos, Dr Sarah Verdon, and Dr Tamara Cumming) were congratulated by the Vice Chancellor (Professor Andy Vann) and their supervisors (Professor Sharynne McLeod, Professor Jennifer Sumision, and Dr Sandie Wong) at the Charles Sturt University graduation ceremony.

Sarah V's PhD graduation

Today Sarah Verdon graduated with her PhD from Charles Sturt University. She was announced the winner of the Faculty of Education Outstanding Thesis Prize.  Her thesis title was: Embracing Diversity, Creating Equality: Supporting the Speech, Language and Communication of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children. Sandie Wong and I were her supervisors and her research was supported by the Research Institute of Professional Practice, Learning and Education. Here is the abstract:
This 3-phased mixed methods dissertation included first, a population study of over 5000 children, finding 15.3% of Australian preschool children were multilingual and that language maintenance was supported by parental use of home language, type of early education environment and generations since migration. Second, a mapping analysis of over 2,800 support services demonstrating a mismatch between children's and professionals' cultural and linguistic diversity. Third, ethnographic research undertaken in 14 sites across four continents, in Brazil, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada and the US, identifying six principals of culturally competent practice to guide professionals' support of children's speech, language and communication.
Prof. McLeod, Dr. Verdon, and Dr. Wong

December 8, 2015

A contrastive analysis of two Fiji English dialects

Suzanne's next journal article for her PhD has been accepted for publication today:
Hopf, S. C. & McLeod, S. & Geraghty, P.  (2015, in press December). A contrastive analysis of two Fiji English dialects: A diagnostic guide for speech-language pathologists. Speech, Language, and Hearing.
Here is the abstract
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are increasingly aware of the need to minimise the impact of cultural and linguistic mismatch when working with culturally and linguistically diverse clients. Consequently, there is a growing body of literature designed for the SLP to obtain an understanding of the characteristics of languages and dialects that may be outside the SLPs’ previous experience. This paper provides a review of the phonological features of two Fiji English (FE) dialects (Fijian Fiji English and Fiji Hindi Fiji English). This information is provided to assist English-speaking SLPs’ diagnostic decision-making when working with people from Fiji who wish to improve their speech intelligibility and to differentiate between speech difference and speech sound disorder in young Fiji children. The Fiji languages influence to varying degrees the phonetics and phonology of FE dialects. Consequently basilectal (heavily accented) speakers have many differences when compared to acrolectal (lightly accented) speakers. Acknowledging the diversity in FE speech production, this paper provides a review of phonetic and phonemic variants for basilectal and acrolectal speakers of Fijian Fiji English and Fiji Hindi Fiji English.

December 2, 2015

2015 PhD, postdoc, and honours community of scholars meeting in Sydney

Almost all of my research students live in different cities from one another (and myself) including Sydney, Newcastle, Albury and Nadi (Fiji). They support one another via email, phone, etc. Once a year we meet face-to-face. Last year was in Bathurst and this year was at the CSU Homebush (Sydney) campus. Each year each student presents their research and the group provides encouragement, feedback, and ideas. This year, we also had Dr Yvonne Wren as our guest speaker who listened to each presentation and then at the end of the day discussed research impact, and how it related to each student's research. We also planned which conferences we would attend in 2016/7. It was Kate's birthday, so we also had cake.

The people who attended this years' research students' day were: Anna Cronin (PhD, commencing 2016), Helen Blake (PhD), Ben Phm (PhD), Charlotte Howland (Honours), Suzanne Hopf (PhD - via teleconference from Fiji), Sarah Masso (PhD), Sarah Verdon (post doc), Kate Crowe (post doc) as well as Dr Yvonne Wren and Dr Elise Baker (for the afternoon). 
Back: Sarah Verdon, Charlotte Howland, Sharynne McLeod, Yvonne Wren, Sarah Masso, Ben Pham
Front: Helen Blake, Kate Crowe, Anna Cronin
Teleconference from Fiji: Suzanne Hopf
Sarah Verdon presenting her ideas for a research grant application

December 1, 2015

Sound Start Study team meetings with Dr Yvonne Wren

Over the past 3 weeks, Dr Yvonne Wren has been visiting Australia sponsored by our Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (Sound Start Study). Yvonne is the author of Phoneme Factory Sound Sorter, the software we used during our randomised controlled trial. Yvonne was not involved in the randomisation or data collection, but has been assisting us with data analysis and interpretation as well as with writing papers while she has been in Sydney and Bathurst. It has been such a pleasure to spend extended time with her.