Phonetic Theory
Linguistics 210

In this edition of Ling 210 we will explore five key areas of phonetic theory. Our approach will be to evaluate a series of target articles in light of the methodological and theoretical context provided by a set of background readings.

Time: F 12:30-3:30 Location:1303 Dwinelle Hall
Course Code: 52599 No. of Units:3

Instructor: Keith Johnson, 1222 Dwinelle Hall

Office hours: TuTh 1:30-2:30, and by appointment.

Coursework: For each of 5 areas of phonetic theory we will choose one or two recent papers, read background papers to situate the current work in its research context and then read and respond to the current article.Students taking the course for credit are responsible for presenting readings to the class, and for a short review article on each of the target articles.

1. Pronunciation Variation. Pronunciation in conversational speech is an emerging area of key importance in phonetics. This area of study opens new and important questions regarding the processes of speech production and perception. Our focus in this section will be on studies that use large "corpora" of conversational speech.


Klatt, Dennis H. 1976. Linguistic uses of segmental duration of English: acoustic and perceptual evidence. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 59 1208-1221.

Chu M., Zhao Y., and Chang E. 2006. Modeling stylized invariance and local variability of prosody in text-to-speech synthesis. Speech Communication 48, 716-726.

Mobius, B. (2004) Corpus-based investigations on the phonetics of consonant voicing. Folia Linguistica 38(1-2), 5-26.

Keating, P. (1997) Word-level phonetic variation in large speech corpora. ZAS Working Papers in Linguistics.

Jande, P.A. (2003) Evaluating rules for phonological reduction in Swedish Umeå University, Department of Philosophy and Linguistics PHONUM 9, 149-152. Available online at

Fosler-Lussier, E. & Morgan, N. (1999) Effects of speaking rate and word frequency on pronunciation in conversational speech. Speech Communication 29 (2-4), 137-158.

Bell, A., Brenier, J., Gregory, M., Girand, C. and Jurafsky, D. (In press) Predictability Effects on Durations of Content and Function Words in Conversational English. Journal of Memory and Language.

Target Article: (Sept. 12)

Gahl, S. (in press) "Thyme" and "Time" are not homophones. Word durations in spontaneous speech. Language.

2. Compensation for Coarticulation. A good deal of controversy surrounds the issue of compensation for coarticulation. This is a phenomenon in speech perception in which listeners seem to take into account adjacent segments and their potential effects on speech perception.


Mann, V.A. & Repp, B.H. (1981) Influence of vocalic context on perception of the [sh]-[s] distinction. Perception & Psychophysics 28, 213-228.

Mann, V.A. (1980) Influence of preceding liquid on stop-consonant perception. Perception & Psychophysics 28, 407-412.

Lotto, A.J. & Kluender, K.R. (1998) General contrast effects in speech perception: Effect of preceding liquid on stop consonant identification. Perception & Psychophysics 60, 602-619.

Samuel, A.G. & Pitt, M.A. (2003) Lexical activation (and other factors) can mediate compensation for coarticulation. Journal of Memory & Language 48, 416-434.

Fowler, C.A. (2006) Compensation for coarticulation reflects gesture perception, not spectral contrast. Perception & Psychophysics 68(2), 161-177.

Lotto, A.J., & Holt, L.L. (2006) Putting phonetic context effects into context: A commentary on Fowler (2006). Perception & Psychophysics 68(2), 178-183.

Target Article: (Oct. 3)

Mitterer, H. (2006) On the causes of compensation for coarticulation: Evidence for phonological mediation. Perception & Psychophysics 68(7), 1227-1240.

3. Top-down information in speech perception. How lexical knowledge interacts with speech perception is the focus of this set of readings.


Fodor, J.A. (1983) Modularity of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (pp. 2-100).

Elman, J.L. & McClelland, J.L. (1988) Cognitive penetration of the mechanism of perception: Compensation for coarticulation of lexically restored phonemes. Journal of Memory and Language 27, 143-165.

Klatt, D.H. (1979) Speech Perception. Journal of Phonetics 7, 279-312.

Massaro, D.W. & Cohen, M.M. (1991) Integration versus interactive activation: The joint influence of stimulus and context in perception. Cognitive Psychology 23(4), 558-614.

Johnson, K. (1997) The auditory/perceptual basis for speech segmentation. Ohio State University Working Papers in Linguistics, 50, 101–113.

Norris, D., McQueen, J. M., & Cutler, A. (2000) Merging information in speech recognition: Feedback is never necessary. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 299–325.

Mitterer, H. & Ernestus, M. (2006) Listeners recover /t/s that speakers reduce: Evidence from /t/ lenition in Dutch. Journal of Phonetics 34, 73-103.

Target Article: (Nov. 7)

McQueen, J.M., Cutler, A. & Norris, D. (2006) Phonological abstraction in the mental lexicon. Cognitive Science 30(6), 1113-1126.

4. Sociophonetics. We'll read about a new direction in sociophonetics that is on the boundary between psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics. The phenomenon of interest is called phonetic convergence and the target article for this section is a recent one by Bronwen Evans and Paul Iverson who have been studying the phonetics of dialect contact in England. By way of background we will read about sociophonetics more generally and some previous works reporting on phonetic convergence.


Labov, Yeager & Steiner (1972) Quantitative Study of Sound Change in Progress

Foulkes, P. and Docherty, G. (2006) The social life of phonetics and phonology . Journal of Phonetics, 34(4), 409-438

Hay, J., Warren, P. and Drager, K. (2006) Factors influencing speech perception in the context of a merger-in-progress. Journal of Phonetics, 34(4), 458-484

Goldinger, S.D. (1998) Echoes of Echoes? An episodic theory of lexical access. Psychological Review 105 (2), 251-279.

Goldinger, S.D., Kleider, H.M., and Shelley, E. (1999) The marriage of perception and memory: Creating two-way illusions with words and voices. Memory and Cognition 27 (2), 328-338.

Bourhis, R. Y. & Giles, H. (1977). The language of intergroup distinctiveness. In Language, ethnicity, and intergroup relations, edited by Howard Giles. New York: Academic Press. xxx-xxx.

Giles, Howard, Richard Y. Bourhis, and Donald M. Taylor. (1977) Towards a theory of language in ethnic group relations. In Language, ethnicity, and intergroup relations, edited by Howard Giles. New York: Academic Press. 307-348.

Sancier, M.L. and Fowler, C.A. (1997) Gestural drift in a bilingual speaker of Brazilian Portuguese and English. Journal of Phonetics 25(4), 421-436.

Pardo, J.S. (2006) On phonetic convergence during conversational interaction . J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 119(4), 2382-2393.

Krauss, R.M. and Pardo, J.S. (ND) Speaker Perception and Social Behavior: Bridging Social Psychology and Speech Science . To appear in P.A.M. van Lange (ed.), Bridging Social Psychology.

Target Article (Nov. 21))

Stent, A.J., Huffman, M.K. & Brennan, S.E. (2008) Adapting speaking after evidence of misrecognition: Local and global hyperarticulation. Speech Communication 50(3), 163-178.

5. Descriptive Phonetics. In this section of the course, students will choose their own target article from the July, 2008 issue of Journal of Phonetics, which is a special issue titled "Phonetic Studies of North American Indigenous Languages", edited by Joyce McDonough and Doug Whalen. Background readings will come from Ladefoged & Maddieson's Sounds of the World's Languages and Ladefoged's Phonetic Data Analysis.

Target Article (Dec. 8 - in Phorum)