Antônio Roberto Simões

Antônio Simões
  • Professor

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Wescoe Hall, room #2650


I have a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, awarded in 1987. Prior to UT-Austin, I completed my Master's degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and my DEA French diploma at the University of Aix-Marseille, in France. Today I am a professor of Spanish and Portuguese Linguistics at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Around 2013, I began to review and rearrange my notes taken during my graduate studies in France, to develop my current research platform using music notation to study prosody. I am currently working on a collaborative project at IRCAM, in Paris, where I am an invited researcher (chercheur-invité) in a team led by Professor Nicolas Obin to develop the use of musical notation to study speech prosody. My Ph.D. dissertation was fundamental to understanding as a graduate student how natural and artificial languages work. In my dissertation I tried to adapt to Brazilian Portuguese Dennis Klatt's work on synthetic duration for American English. I have a background in the Humanities and a great curiosity for the sciences.


Ibero-Romance Linguistics, University of Texas at Austin, 1987, Austin, TX


One of the highlights of my research is the four-year USDE award that I received in 1999 to produce teaching and assessment materials for Portuguese, which benefited intellectually students and teachers. In 2007 and 2008 I received the Cramer Awards for Research, and in 2008 I published Pois não, a contrastive textbook to teach Portuguese for Speakers of Spanish. I am currently working on a new book, a descriptive analysis of Spanish and Portuguese, in which I apply the results of my current research work.


My current research focuses on the transcription and analysis of speech prosody using musical notation. Prosody is a cover term for intonation, tone or pitch, duration, amplitude or loudness, timing or rhythm, sound quality, stress, accent, and phonological processes. Musical notation and musical theory have been used in the past in the transcription of speech, e.g. the speech transcriptions of the British scholar Joshua Steele. My research using musical notation aims at a better understanding of how speech prosody works, as well as at the improvement of applications that depend on prosodic studies.


One of the main issues in studies of speech prosody is the different views of Schools of Thought and the resulting methodological views used for analyses. The development of prosodic studies reflects the elusive nature of speech prosody. The disparity of approaches to analyze prosody and the almost chaotic proliferation of a non-standardized terminology in prosodic studies to date confirm the difficulty that we find when studying any area of prosody.


My current work is intended to provide insights to how speech prosody functions and to contribute to the solution of these issues regarding research methodology. Musical notation, contrary to other transcription systems, is fairly universal, especially in the Western World. It can point out language behavior in a way that allows for effectively transcribing and searching speech patterns. Musical notation is designed to represent both the dynamic and quasi-static music events and by extension, speech prosody. This is so because we can interpret speech "notes" as quasi-static events, given the existence of micro-movements in speech. Note durations, however, are dynamic, since they represent time with exactitude. Even the dynamic intensity can be inferred in MIDI data through velocity, namely the greater the intensity, the greater the MIDI velocity. Musical notation can bring us insights to predict and understand prosodic patterns in speech.


I have an enthusiastic interest in linguistic studies. My view of human language systems is primarily dynamic. This is so because language is not static speech sounds. Language is also gestures and it is alive. It connects to contexts and to our body to communicate ideas. Language is a dynamic system of intentions. As Wilhelm von Humboldt already stated, language is a live organism. Although language systems are mainly dynamic, some of its elements are quasi-static or linear. It follows naturally that I do not agree with the emphasis given to language as a primarily static system. With this vision, I have the firm purpose of pushing my research to its edge, to look for solutions through unconventional approaches, and challenge prevailing paradigms.


My teaching is related to my views in research. I use the classroom experience in my research, and provide students with opportunities to experience the relationship of teaching and research. I have a very good idea of what it takes to acquire a new knowledge in a classroom setting. In addition to being a teacher and a researcher I am still a successful learner of additional languages and of academic topics of my interest. Part of my confidence regarding how we learn can be attributed to enlightening statement by Edgar Allan Poe: "Abstruseness is a quality appertaining to no subject of human consideration, per se. To him who approaches them by properly graduated steps, all topics are alike in facility of comprehension." I share this confidence with my students.

I do not carry any particular cognitive banner. I simply keep abreast of all teaching and research trends and use good sense when applying a given trend to my classrooms. In fall 2017, I will teach one of my classes online. I have been working on the materials for this class for about one year. The materials that I am developing for this online class is another innovative initiative that I bring to my Department of Spanish and Portuguese and KU. In the second class that I will teach, I will also present to my students a new approach to language instruction in Spanish, which consists of simplifying the syntactic rules for transitivity and non-transitivity of verbs in a single semantic rule based on the concepts of verbed and verber. The verbed/verber view of in/transitiviy is quite new and promising, and I decided to explore this idea with my students of Spanish in fall 2017. This will be an opportunity for my students in SPAN522-Advanced Studies in Spanish and I to explore new ideas in Second Language Acquisition. I will be working on this component of my course with a linguist at the Wake Forest University, in North Carolina, Dr. Luis González.

Therefore, I stay informed of new developments in Linguistics, but my teaching takes into account that teaching is not saying and learning is not listening, a saying that I borrowed from a classmate in graduate school, when I attended the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill. By the same token, I also subscribe to the ancient belief that we learn by teaching. My classes reflect these views of mine. I do make my students present or "teach" topics that we study on a regular basis, in the first 15-30 minutes of my classes. Each of them is given c. 7 minutes to make their presentations. My role during these short presentations is to moderate, correct and guide them as needed. This strategy prevents student from listening.

My assessment of how I achieve my teaching goals is based on the student performances. I honor student efforts and progress. I evaluate their efforts and progress through examinations and assignments that are either given to the whole class or in a one-to-one basis. Their main research papers also show me how well or not they assimilate the materials and consequently how I achieve my goals.

Teaching is also mentoring. My mentoring takes into account our expectations and responsibilities, as students and teacher. In our dialogues, I listen to and reinforce their awareness of our context of expectations. My one-to-one contacts with students are opportunities to discuss such awareness, our learning successes and failures. My teaching is strongly guided by the idea that good academic practices are key to succeeding as language learners, future teachers or professionals.

Selected Publications

Simões, Antônio R. M. 2015. “Stress Assignment Contrasted in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese Prosodic Non-Verbal Words.” Book Chapters. In Courses on Speech Prosody, edited by Alexsandro R. Meireles, 34–51. London, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Simões, Antônio R. M. 2006. “Clitic Attachment in Brazilian Portuguese.” Journal Articles. Hispania 89 (2): 380–89.

Simões, Antônio R. M., and Elena C. Papanastasiou. 2002. “Evaluating the Usefulness and Properties of a Subjective Assessment of Brazilian Portuguese.” Journal Articles. Hispania 85.3 (August): 618–28.

Simões, A. R. M. 1996. Assessing the Contribution of Instructional Technology in the Teaching of Pronunciation. Conference Proceedings. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, </i>Philadelphia, PA. Vol. III. University of Delaware and Alfred I. duPont Institute.

Simões, A. R. M. 1996. “Phonetics in Second Language Acquisition: An Acoustic Study of Fluency in Adult Learners of Spanish.” Journal Articles. Hispania 79 (1): 825–33.

Simões, A. R. M. 1992. Com Licença! Brazilian Portuguese for Spanish Speakers. Books. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press and Institute of Latin American Studies.

Simões, A. R. M. 1992. The Phonetics of Discourse: Strong Syllable Positions in Mexican Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. Conference Proceedings. Proceedings of the Workshop on Prosody in Natural Speech. Philadelphia: Institute for Research in Cognitive Sciences.

Simões, A. R. M., and Orlando R. Kelm. 1991. “O Processo de Aquisição Das Vogais Semi-Abertas ‘é, ó’ Do Português (Brasileiro) Como Língua Estrangeira.” Journal Articles. Hispania 74 (3): 654–65.

Koike, Dale A., and A. R. M. Simões, eds. 1989. Negotiating for Meaning: Papers on Foreign Language Teaching and Testing. Books. Austin, TX: Department of Foreign Language Education Studies.

Simões, A. R. M. Accepted/In Press. The Careful Speech of Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. Books. Singapore: Springer, Series: Prosody, Phonology and Phonetics.

Selected Presentations

Meireles, A. R., Simões, A. R. M., Ribeiro, A. C., & Raposo, B. (8/20/2017 - 8/24/2017). Musical Speech: a New Methodology for Transcribing Speech Prosody. Interspeech 2017 – Situated Interaction. Stockholm, Sweden: Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet.

Meireles, A. R., Simões, A. R. M., Ribeiro, A. C., & Raposo, B. (5/23/2017 - 5/26/2017). Transcrição Musical da Prosódia da Fala. XIII Simpósio Internacional de Cognição de Artes Musicais. Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil.

Simões, A. R. M., & Meireles, A. R. (5/31/2016 - 6/3/2016). Speech Prosody in Musical Notation: Spanish, Portuguese and English. Speech Prosody 8. Boston, Mass, Boston University.

Simões, A. R. M., & Meireles, A. R. (4/15/2016 - 4/17/2016). Musical Notation and Speech Prosody: Spanish and Portuguese. Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology (CASPSLaP)

. Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.;

Simões, A. R. M. (11/25/2015 - 11/27/2015). La asignación del acento en palabras no verbales en español y en el portugués de Brasil. IX Conferencia internacional LINGÜÍSTICA 2015. La Habana, Cuba.

Simões, A. R. M. (5/20/2014 - 5/23/2014). Lexical Stress in Brazilian Portuguese in Contrast with Spanish. Speech Prosody Conference # 7. Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.

Simões, A. R. M. (6/26/2012 - 6/28/2012). O papel do output no processo de aprendizagem de línguas naturais. VIII Encontro de Português Língua Estrangeira do Rio de Janeiro. Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Simoes, A. R. M., & Ashby, S. H. (2/16/2012 - 2/18/2012). Patterns of learning among Spanish Speakers of Portuguese, paper reviewed and updated. Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology. University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA.

Awards & Honors

Commander’s Award for Public Service

United States Military Academy at West Point, New York


Cramer Award for Research

University of Kansas


Cramer Award for Research

University of Kansas


Cramer Award for Research

University of Kansas


Award for Excellence in Teaching

University of Kansas Torch Chapter of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society


Grants & Other Funded Activity

Instructional Materials for Testing and Teaching Brazilian Portuguese. US Department of Education's Title VI International Research and Studies program. $417787.00. Submitted 1/1/1998 (1/1/1999 - 12/31/2004). Federal. Status: Funded. 100% participation

General Research Fund Award. University of Kansas. (8/31/1992). University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded