Currently, I am working as a postdoctoral researcher at Groningen University (Center for Language and Cognition Groningen).
My research focuses around three topics: halo effects, the music-language interface, and the interaction between frequency effects and grammar. The languages I currently focus on are mainly Dutch, German and Mandarin, but I investigate other languages as well (like French, Japanese).
Speech transcriptions, the decoding of sounds in letters or other visual symbols, are important means for investigating pronunciation. For instance, sounds of a particular dialect can only be statistically analysed if they have been transcribed. Transcriptions are also used in foreign language education, speech therapy, and language counselling (like in asylum requests). Transcriptions are currently often made by speech processing software, but have to be corrected manually: it cannot fully replace human codings. Some sounds cannot be analysed by speech processing software at all. But are human codings reliable? The answer is probably no. Recently, it turned out that linguistically subjects are easily biased towards an overall accent they perceive in a speaker, such that coders exposed to a certain accent may expect and therefore actually hear prototypical characteristics of this accent—even if these are not present in the phonetic signal. Even professional coders turned out to be subject to coder bias. The scope of this deviation in formal transcription tasks is still unknown, neither has a standard procedure been developed in order to arrive at better results. Since human codings should be as accurate and as reliable as possible, this research aims at the development of a “gold standard” for linguistic transcriptions.
2) The Interface between Language and Music
As a trained musician and linguist, I am highly interested in the links between the two disciplines, especially at the level perception and of sound structure. At the moment I work together with Zhongji Guo and Ting Zou to investigate the perception of Mandarin tones by Dutch listeners: musicians and non-musicians.
3) Frequency effects and grammar
My PhD focused on the interaction between frequency effects and phonological grammar. For my PhD, I investigated variation and change in German, Indonesian, and Japanese. This work is continued, now involving language acquisition in different languages as well (with Jeroen van de Weijer). In search for the optimal representation of the relation between the lexicon and the grammar, I work within the generative framework of phonology as well as usage-based phonology.
My earlier research was mainly concentrated on different aspects of Dutch and German: (Loanword) phonology, phonological microvariation and sociolinguistics. I investigated umlaut in Dutch dialects, the pronunciation of the BÄREN vowel in Standard German, reduction in Dutch, loanwords in Dutch and Dutch loanwords in Indonesian.
My family name is Sloos , which is a reduced form of French Selosse. My forefathers were Huguenots who fled from France to the Netherlands in the 17th century. The name Selosse appears in baptismal records of Tourcoign. The name Sloos has the highest occurrence in the town Leiden, a town at the Rhine in the West of the Netherlands. My parents were born and I used to live in Leiden for the largest part of my life.
My given name is Marjoleine, which is probably an extension from Mary, under the influence of the name of a plant marjolein , meaning marjoram. It is a name that is quite rare: only 0.01% of the females is called Marjoleine. Actually, Marjoleine is a variant of the much more popular Marjolein (0.18%) and Marjolijn (0.04%), both pronounced identically. This leads to the fact that the final schwa is often omitted from my name.
The occurrence of the name Sloos
Source: Meertens Instituut Familienamenbank http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/ The color shows the number of occurrences of the name Sloos. Darker areas correspond with higher numbers. The small darkest area in the west corresponds with the town Leiden.
My Chinese name was given to me during the moon-festival 2012 in China-town, Den Haag, by my good friend and colleague Wenting Yu. My 'family name' is 司马 and my 'given name' is 莱娜.
司 [si1] means 'department, office'.
马 [ma3] means 'horse', regarded as positive for names.
莱 [lai2] is also used in the Chinese words for Leiden and the Rhine, so refers to my roots as a citizen of Leiden.
娜 [na4] is generally used in female names.
A sound correspondence exists between my Chinese name Shima Lena and my Dutch name, Sloos Marjoleine.
I also have a Japanese name, provided to me by Kirstin Somsen, tea teacher in the Netherlands. It is a sound-based transcription of my Dutch name into katakana, the syllabary that is used in Japanese for loanwords.
マ ヨ レー ヌ
ma yo rei nu