ESP Biography

CORA LESURE, MIT postdoc in linguistics

Major: Linguistics

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2023

Picture of Cora Lesure

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I completed my undergrad in linguistics and Hispanic languages at McGill University in Montreal. I just finished my PhD here at MIT and now I work as a postdoc in the Linguistics Department. My research focuses on the word level and below, so how words are built with things like suffixes and prefixes, as well as what sound changes occur when these different pieces come together. I am also passionate about language revitalization and documentation.

In my free time I enjoy knitting, baking, taking trips about town and learning new things.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

S15997: Making Waves : An Introduction to Phonetic Speech Analysis in Spark 2024 (Mar. 16 - 17, 2024)
What is the difference between sound and noise? What about speech? Phonetics, a sub field of linguistics, is the scientific study of sound as applied to human language. Every time you say something, you are coordinating a very complex series of physical movements from your diaphragm all the way to the tip of your tongue and lips. These movements result in audible sounds that we can then interpret with incredible accuracy, all without thinking. By studying these sounds we can learn a lot about how language works, from physiology to perception. This is the work of the phonetician. In this class we will use the tools of phonetic analysis, namely sound waves and special diagrams called spectrograms, to think critically about the following question: By looking into the waves of our own speech, what can we learn about our language(s) and about human language in general?

B15825: What's in a word? An Introduction to Morphology in Splash 2023 (Nov. 18 - 19, 2023)
Chances are you know an astounding number of words, words that you never had to sit down and purposefully memorize. From "antidisestablishmentarianism" to "dog", words of all shapes and sizes can live in your brain ready to be called upon at a moment's notice. It doesn't stop there, something as simple as "dog" can be further changed, "dogs" now there is more than one, "dog-sitter" now this isn't even a dog at all. I also would wager that you haven't heard this word before: "dogification", and yet! If you had to, I bet you could tell me what it means. This ability of ours raises a lot of big questions. It raises questions about the words themselves: What even IS a word anyway? It also raises questions about us: How do we know how to build words, and how do we keep track of them all? This class will explore these questions through the lens of "morphology", the scientific study of words. Morphology is a part of the field of Linguistics, which is the scientific study of language. Languages are big and complicated and really amazing things, with lots of intersecting parts. We are going to take an in depth look at just one of those parts, the "word", in English and beyond.

S15542: Linguistics: The Science of Language in Spark 2023 (Mar. 18 - 19, 2023)
Did you know that language, like all natural phenomena, can be observed and investigated in a scientific way? What is unique about language is that everyone has their own personal and infinite data set living inside their brain. Learn to examine that data the way a linguist would, and puzzle over things that you may not realize you know about the language that you use every day. Learn how linguistics, the science of language, relates to your world and what you're interested in.

S12285: How Language Works in HSSP Summer 2018 (Jun. 30, 2018)
This course is an introduction to the field of linguistics, the scientific study of human language. From the analysis of spoken sound to the ways in which we put together words and map meanings to those words, this course gives an overview of the complex mechanisms at work each time you talk.