Jian Zhu

A desktop linguist.

Department of Linguistics

University of British Columbia


Hi there! I am currently an assistant professor at the Linguistics Department at the University of British Columbia and an instructor for the UBC MDS-CL Program. I am primarily interested in spoken language processing, natural language processing and computational social science, with a focus on multilingual speech recognition/alignment, spoken information retrieval and the language dynamics in online communities. Trained as both a linguist and an engineer, I combine linguistic theories with data-driven methods in NLP, network science and machine learning.

Before that, I was a post-doctoral research fellow at Blablablab, UMSI. I had obtained my Ph.D. in Linguistics and Scientific Computing from the Department Linguistics and the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery & Engineering at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. During my Ph.D. years, I was fortunately advised by Pam Beddor and David Jurgens.


Jan 21, 2022 The paper for Charsiu phonetic aligner has been accepted to ICASSP!
Nov 12, 2021 The preview version of Charsiu phonetic aligner is out!
Nov 8, 2021 I will present my work at EMNLP 2021 this week!

selected publications

  1. EMNLP Findings
    Bootstrapping meaning through listening: Unsupervised learning of spoken sentence embeddings
    Zhu, Jian, Tian, Zuoyu, Liu, Yadong, Zhang, Cong, and Lo, Chia-wen
    In Findings of Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing 2022
  2. Interspeech
    ByT5 model for massively multilingual grapheme-to-phoneme conversion
    Zhu, Jian, Zhang, Cong, and Jurgens, David
    Interspeech 2022
    Phone-to-audio alignment without text: A Semi-supervised Approach
    Zhu, Jian, Zhang, Cong, and Jurgens, David
    IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing 2022
  4. EMNLP
    Idiosyncratic but not Arbitrary: Learning Idiolects in Online Registers Reveals Distinctive yet Consistent Individual Styles
    Zhu, Jian, and Jurgens, David
    In Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing Nov 2021
  5. NAACL
    The structure of online social networks modulates the rate of lexical change
    Zhu, Jian, and Jurgens, David
    In Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies Jun 2021