Welcome! In Menon Lab, we study meaning, structure, and representations shared across cognitive domains such as language, artificial language, music, and vision. We combine research methodologies in Linguistics and Psychology to understand better how human cognition works. We are also interested in language variation, documentation, conservation, and revitalization. If you are interested in joining the Menon Lab, contact me.
Mythili Menon Principle Investigator
Mythili's research looks at representations, central to language and more generally to cognitive science, in that they provide a window into our generative conceptual capacity. Her approach combines formal modeling with quantitative experimental data and fieldwork to focus on several problems in the syntax-semantics interface, as well as across modalities. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California in 2016, and has been an Assistant Professor at Wichita State University since fall of 2016. Drew Colcher Research Assistant
Drew is a Wichita native and lifelong east-sider, although he's spent somewhat significant stretches in Garden City and Lawrence, KS as well as Santiago, Chile. He received a BA in English literature with a minor in anthropology in 2011 and a BA in Spanish in 2017, both from WSU. His research interests are in sociolinguistics, comparative literature, Spanish language and literature, modern music, and 20th century modernist American literature.
Will Mercer Undergraduate RA
Will Mercer is a sophomore History education major born and raised in Wichita. Aside from doing research, Will is an assistant debate and forensics coach, a cook, and a musician.
Prabashini Siriwardana Undergraduate RA
Prabashini, originally from Sri Lanka, was born and raised in the Middle Eastern country Oman. She will be graduating with a BA in Psychology, along with a minor in Women’s Studies and a certificate in Community Psychology. Some of her current research revolves around Gender Differences in Maladaptive Personality Traits and Psychological Distress like Depression and Anxiety.
Emily Posson Lab Manager
Emily Posson is a senior in English Language and Literature with minors in French and Linguistics. She loves learning new languages and is particularly interested in Korean and Old English at the moment. She also loves to figure skate and to listen to music.
Bao-Van Nguyen Lab Member
Bao Van Nguyen is a senior currently majoring in English Literature and minoring in Linguistics. She came from Vietnam to Wichita when she was 10 years old. Some of her favorite things to do during her pass time is to read, play, and listen to music. She is also a gamer and is passionate about cooking. She also loves learning different languages. Right now, the two languages she's trying to learn are Korean and Chinese.
Matt Hopper Lab Member
Matt Hopper is an undergraduate junior from Dallas, Texas working toward a double major in English Lit. and Communication Sciences and disorders, and a minor in Linguistics. Some of his favorite things include the Texas Rangers, poetry and How I Met Your Mother.
Shuang Lee Lab Member
Shuang Lee is a double major in French and German. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Malay, and two dialects derived from Mandarin Chinese which are Hokkien and Cantonese. She enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures.
Henry Postoak Lab Member
Henry Postoak is a senior majoring in Spanish with minors in linguistics and French. He enjoys dog sitting, Netflix, video games, and occasionally cooking.
Past Members of the Lab
Krystal Iseminger Research Assistant (2016-2017) Currently: Media Resources Center, Wichita State University
Cole Ethington Research Assistant (Fall 2017)
Emily Hankins Lab Member
Rebecca Baltzell Lab Member
Language and Cognition
Music is part of human nature and culture, just like language, raising the question of what the relationship between the two is. Recent research has shown that language and music share a number of characteristics.One of the crucial characteristics shared across the domains is that language and music use rules and representations. We are studying these rules and representations using psycholinguistics techniques. Wichita State IRB # 3738 We are currently recruiting participants for this study. If you are interested in participating, please contact Drew Colcher (firstname.lastname@example.org). Output July 31-Aug 3, 2017: Music Primes Relative Clause Completions in English. (with Krystal Iseminger). Society for Music Perception and Cognition Meeting 2017. San Diego, CA. Documenting the Indigenous Food and Language of the Potawatomi Indians of Kansas
The goal of this project is to document the food habits and recipes of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Indians who reside near Mayetta, Kansas. The project will make the recipes and data elicited through fieldwork to the general public through an online archive. The methodology will include fieldwork in the Prairie Band region, talking to elders in the community, survey questionnaires, and eliciting and recording of these recipes in Potawatomi and translating them into English. This project will help preserve a valuable heritage of the Potawatomi tribe, namely their food habits and indigenous recipes for posterity. This research is funded by an URCA grant from Dec 01, 2016- Dec 31-2017. Wichita State IRB # 3818 Output Jan 4-7, 2018: Decomposing Color Terms in Potawatomi. 92nd Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting. Salt Lake City, Utah. Nov 15-16, 2017: Documenting the Indigenous Food and Language of the Potawatomi Indians of Kansas (with Cole Ethington). Engaged Humanities: preserving and revitalizing endangered languages and cultural heritage Conference. Warsaw, Poland, EU. Documenting Judeo-Malayalam Spoken by the Cochin Jews
The primary goal of this project is to document Judeo-Malayalam, a language on the verge of extinction, spoken by a small and aging Jewish community in the Indian state of Kerala. The members of the community are known as Cochin Jews, after the city of Kochi (Cochin) where they reside. More details here.
Measure Phrases in U.S. Spanish (with Rachel Showstack)
The goal of this project is to study variation among the production and comprehension of measure phrases in U.S. Spanish. Output Menon, Mythili and Showstack, Rachel. (to appear). Measure Phrases in Spanish Second Language Learners and Heritage Speakers. In Temkin Martinez et al. eds Proceedings of WECOL 2017. [pdf] Oct 20-22, 2017: Measure Phrases in Spanish Spoken in Multilingual Spoken Contexts (with Rachel Showstack). Western Conference on Linguistics. Boise, Idaho. Wichita State IRB # 3914 Misinformation on the Web (with Murtuza Jadliwala)
In this new interdisciplinary project, we are interested in understanding online sharing behavior of people, in connection with misinformation on the web. This research is funded by a MURPA grant from Jan 01, 2018- June 15, 2018, Wichita State IRB # 3970. We are currently recruiting participants for this study. If you are interested in participating, please contact William Mercer (email@example.com) or Prabashini Siriwardana (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Color terms across languages
In this project, we are investigating the nominal nature of color terms across a variety of languages such as Malayalam (joint work with Roumyana Pancheva), Potawatomi, and Korean (joint work with Emily Posson, Wichita State IRB # 4029). Output Mythili Menon and Emily Posson. A Decomposition Analysis of Color Terms in Korean. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual Penn Linguistics Conference. [pdf]
Collaborators Darren DeFrain, Director of Composition Studies, Wichita State University Murtuza Jadliwala, Assistant Professor of CS, UT San Antonio Rachel Showstack, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Linguistics, Wichita State University Michael Vitevich, Professor of Psychology, University of Kansas Elsi Kaiser, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Roumyana Pancheva, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Hao Wang, Postdoctoral fellow, UPenn Krish Ashok, Musician extraordinaire