Dani Byrd

Professor of Linguistics
Dani Byrd

Research & Practice Areas

Phonetics, Speech Production, Prosody, Articulation, Spoken Language, Dynamic Vocal Tract Imaging

Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations

  • USC Phonetics Laboratory, founder
  • USC Speech Production and Articulation kNowledge Group (SPAN), co-leader
  • Haskins Laboratories, Alumna
  • USC Dynamic Imaging Science Center, Management Oversight Board


  • Ph.D. Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles
  • B.A. Linguistics, Yale University
  • M.A. Linguistics, Yale University
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor, University of Southern California, 02/2008 –
    • Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 06/01/2002 – 02/2008
    • Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, 06/30/1999 – 06/01/2002

    Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Lecturer, Yale University, 1996-09-01-1996-12-31
    • Senior Scientist, Haskins Laboratories, 1997-1999

    PostDoctoral Appointments

    • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Haskins Laboratories, 07/01/1994 – 1996

    Other Employment

    • for Decanal Administrative Appointmens, see Service below, USC, 2007-2016
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Byrd’s special interest is in speech production and
    articulation. She studies how the skilled, sound producing movements of
    the vocal tract are coordinated in time as a result of linguistic
    structuring, such as phrase and syllable structure. In order to study
    speech production, she uses cutting edge technology for tracking and
    imaging inside the mouth and throat during speech, including
    magnetometry and real-time MRI. Her research has been supported by the NIH and the NSF, among other sponsors.

    Spoken language relies on an elegant and complex acoustic structure to
    support communication between speakers and listeners. Consideration of
    the orchestration of articulatory activity that produces this acoustic
    signal is a necessary element in understanding the process of human
    communication. The complex messages and emotions of spoken language must
    be communicated by precise choreography of the jaw, tongue, lips,
    larynx, and respiratory system. This choreography is shaped by the
    structure of the language being spoken but is constrained by the shared
    biology of the human organism producing the linguistic message.

    Phonetics is an interdisciplinary area of research, which in addition to
    requiring an understanding of linguistics, incorporates elements of
    cognitive science, motor control, acoustics, engineering, physiology,
    and psychology. Professor Byrd considers her work in speech production
    to be part of the growing interdisciplinary research effort in cognitive
    science, adopting the view that the study of language is one of the
    cornerstones of this effort as it is a special human ability that makes
    possible the richness of human intellect, relationships, culture, and

    A longer research summary is here:

    Research Specialties

    Phonetics, Speech Production, Prosody, Articulation, Spoken Language, Dynamic Vocal Tract Imaging

  • Contracts and Grants Awarded

    • Structured variability in vocal tract articulation dynamics in speech, (NSF), Narayanan, Byrd, $1,200,000, 05/15/2023 – 04/30/2027
    • Training in Hearing & Communications Neuroscience, (NIH NIDCD T32 Training Grant), Bottjer, S [PI], Preceptor, $3,000,000, 2009 – 06/30/2025
    • Multimodal integration of neural and biobehavioral signals for predicting preconscious responses., (DARPA), Narayanan, $3,528,515, 11/01/2023 – 10/31/2024
    • Development of a High-Performance Low-Field MRI for Dynamic Imaging, (NSF Major Research Instrumentation), Krishna Nayak, Dani Byrd, $2,482,272, 10/01/2018 – 09/30/2023
    • Dynamics of vocal tract shaping, (NIH NIDCD), Shrikanth Narayanan, Dani Byrd (co-I), $2,200,000, 12/2015 – 03/31/2021
    • Prosody and articulatory dynamics in spoken language, (NIH), Dani Byrd, $2,453,430, 04/2012 – 09/2019
    • Dynamics of vocal tract shaping, (NIH), Shrikanth Narayanan, $2,301,857, 12/2009 – 11/2014
    • Prosody and Articulatory Dynamics in Spoken Language (total costs shown), (NIH), Dani Byrd, $2,848,550, 09/01/2006 – 08/31/2011
    • Human-Like Speech Processing (total costs shown), (Off. Naval Res., MURI Multidisc Univ Res Initiativ), Jeff Bilmes (UW); Shrikanth Narayanan (USC), Dani Byrd (co-I), $4,980,687, 05/01/2005 – 04/01/2010
    • Dynamics of Vocal Tract Shaping (total costs shown), (NIH), Shrikanth Narayanan, Dani Byrd (co-lead investigator), $1,767,992, 04/01/2005 – 03/31/2009
    • Prosody And Articulatory Dynamics In Spoken Language, (NIH), Byrd, Dani Margaret, $1,107,623, 09/01/2006 – 08/31/2008
    • Human-like Speech Processing (‘your portion’ shows total $ to USC), (Office of Naval Reseach MURI), Shrikanth Narayanan, Dani Byrd, $4,980,687, 05/01/2005 – 04/30/2008
    • Prosody And Articulatory Dynamics In Spoken Language, (National Institutes of Health), Byrd, Dani, $1,470,220, 09/20/2002 – 08/31/2006
    • Prosody and Articulatory Dynamics in Spoken Language, (NIH), Dani Byrd, $1,470,220, 09/01/2002 – 08/31/2006
    • Prosody and Articulatory Dynamics in Spoken Language, (NIH [Direct Costs Shown]), Dani Byrd, $910,000, 09/01/2002 – 08/21/2006
    • Articulatory timing: Organizing syllables and phrases. [Direct Costs shown], (NIH), Dani Byrd, $350,000, 1997 – 2002
  • Book

    • Byrd, D., Mintz, T. H. (2010). Discovering Speech, Words, and Mind. Wiley-Blackwell. Amazon

    Book Chapters

    • Toutios, A., Byrd, D., Goldstein, L., Narayanan, S. (2019). Advances in vocal tract imaging and analysis. The Routledge Handbook of Phonetics
    • Goldstein, L., Byrd, D., Saltzman, E. (2006). The role of vocal tract gestural action units in understanding the evolution of phonology. pp. p. 215-249. Cambridge, UK: Action to Language via the Mirror Neuron System/Cambridge University Press.
    • Byrd, D., Saltzman, E. |. (2003). Speech production. pp. p. 1072-1076.. The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks. 2nd Edition./The MIT Press.


    • Byrd, D., Kreiman, J. |. (2006). Peter Nielsen Ladefoged • 1925-2006. pp. p. 2555. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America/ASA through the American Institute of Physics.

    Encyclopedia Article

    • Byrd, D. (2010). Phonetics. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language Sciences.

    Journal Article

    • Krivokapic, J., Styler, W., Byrd, D. (2022). The role of speech planning in the articulation of pauses. JASA. Vol. 151
    • Byrd, D., Krivokapic, J. (2021). Cracking prosody in Articulatory Phonology. Annu. Rev. Linguist..
    • Lee, Y., Goldstein, L., Parrell, B., Byrd, D. (2021). Who converges? Variation reveals individual speaker adaptability. Speech Communication. Vol. 131, pp. 23-34.
    • Danner, S. G., Krivokapic, J., Byrd, D. (2021). Co-speech movement in conversational turn-taking. Frontiers in Communication. Vol. 16
    • Lee, Y., Danner, S. G., Parrell, B., Lee, S., Goldstein, L., Byrd, D. (2018). Articulatory, acoustic, and prosodic accommodation in a cooperative maze navigation task. PLoS ONE. Vol. 13(8): e0201444.
    • Parrell, B., Goldstein, L., Lee, S., Byrd, D. (2014). Spatiotemporal coupling between speech and manual motor actions. Journal of Phonetics. Vol. 42, pp. 1-11.
    • Narayanan, S., Toutios, A., Byrd, D. (2014). Real-time magnetic resonance imaging and electromagnetic articulography database for speech production research. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Vol. 136, pp. 1307.
    • Goldstein, L., Pouplier, M., Chen, L., Saltzman, E., Byrd, D. (2007). Dynamic action units slip in speech production errors. Cognition/Elsevier. Vol. 103 (3), pp. p. 386-412.
    • Narayanan, S., Nayak, K., Lee, S., Sethy, A., Byrd, D. (2004). An approach to real-time magnetic resonance imaging for speech production. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America/ASA through the American Institute of Physics. Vol. 115, pp. p. 1771-1776.
    • Byrd, D., Saltzman, E. (2003). The elastic phrase: Dynamics of boundary-adjacent lengthening. Journal of Phonetics/Academic Press. Vol. 31(2), pp. p. 149-180.
    • Byrd, D. (1996). A phase window framework for articulatory timing. Phonology/Cambridge University Press. Vol. 13(2), pp. p. 139-169.

    Magazine/Trade Publication

    • Byrd, D., Bresch, E., Kim, Y. C., Nayak, K., Narayanan, S.Seeing speech: Capturing vocal tract shaping using real-time magnetic resonance imaging. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. Vol. 25, pp. 123-132. pdf
    • USC Dornsife Dean’s Award for Distinguished Service, 2012
    • Fellow, Acoustical Society of America, citation: “For research on the relation of linguistic structures to the temoral realization of speech.”, 2008
    • Recipient of National or International Prize in Discipline, R. Bruce Lindsay Award, Acoustical Society of America, 2003
    • Certificate of Meritorious Service, City of New Haven, CT, 1997
    • UCLA Association of Academic Women, Graduate Woman of the Year Award, 1994
    • UCLA College of Letters and Science Graduate Student Award, 1993
    • NSF Graduate Fellow, 1990-1992
    • Simultaneous MA/BA, Yale University, 1990
  • Administrative Appointments

    • Executive Vice Dean, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, 07/01/2015 – 08/2016
    • Interim Dean, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, 12/01/2015 – 08/15/2016
    • Vice Dean for Institutional Affairs, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
      , 07/2012 – 06/30/2015
    • Vice Dean for Faculty, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, 01/2011 – 07/2012
    • Vice Dean for Faculty & Research, USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, 07/01/2008 – 12/31/2010
    • Vice Dean, Research Advancement, USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, 2007-2008
  • Editorships and Editorial Boards

    • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Phonetics, 10/01/2008 –
    • Editorial Board Member, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 1996 – 2015
    • Associate Editor, Journal of Phonetics, 09/15/2006 – 09/14/2008

    Professional Memberships

    • Acoustical Society of America, Full Member, 1994 –
    • International Phonetic Association, 1994 –
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