Abigail R. Kaun

Abigail Kaun currently serves as Executive Advisor to the Dean of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. In this senior staff role, Abigail helps coordinate and guide strategic planning and implementation activities, as well as support efforts related to student success, project coordination, external relations, and communications.

Prior to joining the Baskin School of Engineering, Abigail was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Loyola Marymount University in the School of Film and Television. During the past 10 years, she has also been Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Students Affairs at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, among other positions.

Her faculty experience includes a five-year assistant professorship at Yale in the Department of Linguistics, and a visiting assistant professorship at The University of Iowa, also in the Department of Linguistics.

Abigail earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics at UCLA. As a linguist, she specializes in phonology, language universals, and Turkic languages, and has worked with engineers and phoneticians on a variety of collaborations involving speech production. Abigail has also served as a language consultant for academic, film and legal projects in New Haven and Los Angeles.


  • Ph.D.

    Ph.D., Linguistics

    University of California, Los Angeles

  • B.A.

    B.A., Linguistics

    University of California, Santa Barbara



  • Present2017

    Executive Advisor to the Dean

    UC Santa Cruz, Jack Baskin School of Engineering

  • 20172014

    Associate Dean, Academic Affairs

    Loyola Marymount University, School of Film and Television
    (Animation, Film & Television Studies, Production, Recording Arts, and Screenwriting)

  • 20142007

    Associate Dean, Academic Programs and Students Affairs

    USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
    (Communication, Journalism, Public Diplomacy, and Public Relations)

  • 20072006

    Associate Dean, Graduate Programs

    USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
    (Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences)

  • 20062003

    Associate Director

    USC Annenberg School of Communication

  • 20032001

    Assistant Director

    USC Annenberg School of Communication

  • 20012000

    Public Communications Manager

    USC Alumni Association

Tenure-Track Faculty

  • 20001995

    Assistant Professor

    Yale University Department of Linguistics

  • 19951994

    Visiting Assistant Professor

    The University of Iowa Department of Linguistics

Contingent Faculty and Research

  • 20072003

    Adjunct Assistant/Associate Professor

    USC Department of Linguistics

  • 19911987

    Research Assistant

    Panasonic Technologies, Speech Technology Laboratory

Publications and Presentations

Definite and Indefinite Noun Phrases in Turkish: A Discourse Study.

Kaun, A.
In Sandra Thompson (ed.) Santa Barbara Papers in Linguistics 1.
Publication year: 1988

A Multilingual Text-to-Speech System

Javkin, H., Hata, K., Kaun, A., Lin, C.H.
Proceedings of ICASSP, Glasgow, Scotland, pp. 242-245, May 1989.
Publication year: 1989

Breathiness and Intelligibility–are they Mutually Exclusive?

Javkin, H., Hanson, B., and Kaun, A.
Paper presented at the meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, December, 1989. Washington, D.C.
Publication year: 1988

Edge-In Association and the OCP in Haya

Kaun, A.
(MA thesis)
Publication year: 1991

Suffixal H Tone Assignment in Haya Verbs and the OCP

Kaun, A.
Presentation given at the 4th Arizona Phonology Conference.
Publication year: 1991

The Effects of Breathy Voice on Intelligibility

Hanson, B., Javkin, H., and Kaun, A.
Speech Communication, 10, 539-543. North-Holland.
Publication year: 1991

The Coronal Underspecification Hypothesis

Kaun, A.
In Daniel Silverman & Robert Kirchner (eds.) Papers in Phonology, UCLA Occasional Papers in Linguistics No. 13.
Publication year: 1993

An Optimality-Theoretic Account of Rounding Harmony Typology

Kaun, A.
Presentation given at WCCFL XIII, UCSD, March 1994. Paper appears in Proceedings of WCCFL XIII, CSLI.
Publication year: 1994

The Typology of Rounding Harmony: An Optimality Theoretic Approach

Kaun, A.
Doctoral Dissertation, UCLA. Published as UCLA Dissertations in Linguistics, No. 8.
Publication year: 1995

Kaun, A.
Paper presented at WCCFL XIV, USC, March 1995.
Publication year: 1995

Vowel Inventories and Vowel Processes within Optimality Theory

Kaun, A.
In Proceedings of the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 1995, 2, 614-617. Stockholm, Sweden.
Publication year: 1995

Phrasal Boundaries and Articulatory Timing

Byrd, D., Kaun, A., Narayanan, S., Saltzman, E.
Paper presented at Laboratory Phonology 5, June 1996. Evanston, IL.
Publication year: 1996

Liquids in tamil

Alwan, A., Byrd, D., Kaun, A., Ladefoged, P., and Narayanan, S.
In Proceedings of ICSLP, 1996. Philadelphia, PA.
Publication year: 1996

The Role of Phonological Phrasing Sung and Chanted Verse

Hayes, B., and Kaun, A.
Linguistic Review, 13, 243-303.
Publication year: 1996

Abstractness in Harmony Systems: The Case of Namangan Tatar.

Kaun, A., Harrison, D., and Tcherkassova, F.
Paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference on the Non-Slavic Languages of the USSR, University of Chicago, May 8-10, 1997. In Proceedings of the Non-Slavic Languages of the USSR.
Publication year: 1997

Input constraints in Tamil

Kaun, A.
Paper presented at Chicago Linguistics Society 34, April 17, 1998. Chicago, IL. In Proceedings of CLS 34.
Publication year: 1998

Two constraint systems: Evidence from English loanwords in Tami

Kaun, A., and Sarvanan, B.
Paper presented at South Asian Linguistics Association XIX, July, 1998. York, England
Publication year: 1998

Using English to understand Tamil: Sonorants, obstruents and weight.

Kaun, A.
ms., Yale University
Publication year: 1998

Hybrid Neutralization in Limbu.

Kaun, A., and Richardson, M.
Paper presented at the meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, January, 1999. Los Angeles, CA.
Publication year: 1999

Epenthesis-driven harmony in Turkish

Kaun, A.
Paper presented at BLS 25: Special Session on Caucasian, Dravidian, and Turkic Linguistics, February, 1999. Appeared in Proceedings of BLS 25, Alan Yu (ed.).
Publication year: 1999

Acoustic modeling of retroflex consonants.

Kaun, A., and Narayanan, S.
In Proceedings of XIV ICPHS, August, 1999. San Francisco, CA.
Publication year: 1999

Geometry, kinematics, and acoustics of Tamil liquid consonants

Byrd, D., Kaun, A., and Narayanan, S.
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 106, 1993-2007.
Publication year: 1999

Pattern-Responsive underspecification.

Harrison, K. D., and Kaun, A.
Paper presented at the North Eastern Linguistics Conference. October 20, 1999. Rutgers University. In Proceedings of the 30th Conference of the North Eastern Linguistics Society.
Publication year: 1999

The implications of disharmony for underspecification

Harrison, K. D., and Kaun, A.
Paper presented at the Conference on Distinctive Feature Theory. October 7, 1999. Berlin, Germany.
Publication year: 1998

Phrasal signatures in articulation.

Byrd, D., Kaun, A., Narayanan, S., and Saltzman, E.
In M. Broe & J. Pierrehumbert (eds.) Papers in Laboratory Phonology 5.
Publication year: 2000

"Consonant disharmony and epenthesis in Turkish."

A. Kaun
Paper presented at the LSA. January 7, 2000. Chicago, IL.
Publication year: 2000

Patterns, pervasive patterns, and feature specification

Harrison, K.D., and Kaun, A.
In T. Alan Hall (ed.), Distinctive Feature Theory. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter., pp. 211-236
Publication year: 2001

The phonetic foundations of the rounding harmony typology

Kaun, A.
In B. Hayes, R. Kirchner, D. Steriade (eds.), Phonetically Based Phonology. Cambridge University Press.
Publication year: 2004

Invited Lectures and Colloquia

“Contrast Constraints and Rounding Harmony”

Kaun, A.
Colloquium delivered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Linguistics, Feb. 1994.
Publication year: 1994

“Auditory and Articulatory Constraint Interaction in Harmony.”

Kaun, A.
Colloquium delivered at Yale University Department of Linguistics, Feb. 24, 1995.
Publication year: 1995

“The Coronal Underspecification Hypothesis: Where are we now?”

Kaun, A.
Colloquium delivered at the University of Massachusetts Department of Linguistics, Amherst, MA, April 26, 1996.
Publication year: 1996

“Are input representations constrained?”

Kaun, A.
Colloquium delivered at the State University of New York, Stony Brook Department of Linguistics, February 6, 1998.
Publication year: 1998

“What Linguistic Borrowings Can Tell Us About Linguistic Systems: The Case of Turkish Epenthesis,”

Kaun, A.
Lecture delivered at the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, October 30, 1998.
Publication year: 1998


  • 2010
    Phi Kappa Phi, USC Chapter
  • 1998-1999
    Fellow, Whitney Center for Humanities, Yale University
  • 1997-1998
    Morse Junior Faculty Fellowship in the Social Sciences, Yale University