Hunter Hatfield

University of Mississippi (MA)
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (PhD)

Research Interests

For a hundred years, language researchers, as well as grammarians in secondary school, have written about language as if it is something that occurs in space: we draw trees for grammar, say a word is to the left or right of another, speak of one bit being inside or outside another bit, etc. However, natural speech occurs primarily over time. Hunter is interested in how to describe language in time, as well as in space, and discovering whether or not it makes any difference to our scientific understanding of language.

Current Projects

An experimental platform that uses the touch/gesture interface of an Android tablet for studying language processing is under development in the lab. Several current or upcoming projects revolve around the creation of this experimental platform including:

  • a study of the time course of syntactic ambiguity using “underlining” of text with a finger to trace attention while reading
  • continuous measurement of politeness judgments throughout a conversation
  • stress perception by both typically-developing children and children with dyslexia using a “visual world paradigm” but employing finger traces as the dependent variable
  • theoretical study of the relation between Shannon information (information theory) and dynamic information in a dynamic system as realised in language behaviour
  • studying and improving linguistics as higher education for undergraduates. Some recent talks were presented here. Write Hunter for more information.


Some of Hunter's research projects can be followed in his profile on the Open Science Framework.

Postgraduate Supervision

Hunter hopes to find postgraduate students with projects that reinforce the direction of the lab. Projects that focus on the temporal side of language could look at any timescale, from 10s of milliseconds to a lifespan. Students with the following sorts of interests are encouraged to apply:

  • Projects that move the gesture-based experimental methodology forward are welcome. As this platform is under active development, having the appropriate technical skills would be of great benefit.
  • Dynamic approaches to language processing that focus on language as a temporal phenomenon. The lab's focus has largely been phonological, so this would be the best fit, but it is not required. Language acquisition over a course of time would also be a natural fit.
  • The current research in the lab has focused upon small-scale temporal and statistical approaches to language use and acquisition. A project that could add a social dimension to this work, such as alignment over a set of interactions, would be welcome.


Selected Publications

Hatfield, H. & Hahn, J-W. (2014). The face of others: Triadic and dyadic interactions in Korea and the United States. Multilingua 10(2), 221-245. Click here to read the proofs of the article.

Hatfield, H. & Hahn, J-W. (2011). What Korean apologies require of politeness theory. Journal of Pragmatics 43(5), 1303-1317.

Hahn, J-W. & Hatfield, H. (2011). Group face in Korea and the United States: Taking responsibility for the individual and the group. Multilingua 30, 25-70.

Hatfield, H. (2010). Temporal expectancy and the experience of statistics in language processing. Doctoral dissertation, University of Hawaii at Mānoa.


Contact details

Office - 1N10, Arts Building

Tel 479 9087