Dr. Baker’s research interests involve the nature of sound change both synchronically and diachronically and therefore attempt to shed light on the mechanisms of both dialectal variation and historical change.  He is particularly interested in the phonetics/phonology interface and how phonetically-based (and often functionalist) influences interact with systemic pressures in the evolution of grammars and phonological inventories.  Modeling such interplay as constraint interaction in Optimality Theory, he has looked at the role of lenition and fortition in the historical evolution of the Spanish consonant inventory, the subphonemic effects of intergestural timing in the evolution of Romance palatals, and the dissimilation of Spanish medieval stridents as an effect of perceptual dispersion.

He is currently deeply involved with study abroad and the positive benefits both  linguistically, culturally, and personally that such experiences have upon students.