Phonetics & Phonology Forum is a weekly talk and discussion series featuring presentations on all aspects of phonology and phonetics.
Practice talks for the CUNY Phonology Forum Conference on Precedence Relations
Discussion of Eric Bakovic's paper, "A revised typology of opaque generalizations" (ROA-850)
Variation in the speech signal abounds. A single speaker can produce a number of acoustically distinct utterances for any given word. Moreover, any word can be produced uniquely by different speakers depending on unpredictable indexical characteristics (e.g., gender, age; Abercrombie, 1967), or more systematic phonetic characteristics (e.g., dialect, native language). In short, spoken words are variable. They are not bounded by spaces. Identical productions of words (even by the same speaker) are rare. The task of recognizing spoken words is notoriously difficult. Once dialectal variation is considered, the difficulty of this task increases. When living in a new dialect region, however, processing difficulties associated with dialectal variation dissipate over time. While the issue of variation has been gaining attention in the field, the majority of attention has been given to indexical variation. The projects that have focused on language-specific and phonetic variation have focused either on arbitrary variation (e.g., the processing of service vs. gervice; Connine et al., 1993) or assimilation (e.g., Gow, 2001). Little attention has been paid to the processing of words with multiple surface instantiations or the effect of experience in the perception and representation of cross-dialectal variation.
Through a series of priming tasks (form priming, semantic priming, and long-term repetition priming), I examine the general issue of variation in spoken word recognition, while investigating the role of experience in perception and representation. The main questions addressed in this talk are: (1) How are cross-dialect variants recognized and stored, and (2) How are these variants accommodated by listeners with different levels of exposure to the dialect? Three claims are made based on the results: (1) Dialect production is not representative of dialect perception and representation, (2) Experience is linked with a listener's ability to recognize and represent spoken words, and (3) There is a general benefit for having the status as the 'ideal' variant, even if this variant is not the most common one. Results of this research have implications for autonomous models of phonology and raise interesting questions regarding the non-production side of having a dialect.
In addition to the discussion of cross-dialectal variation, the presentation of a new research program examining issues associated with acclimating to non-native speech is included. This project examines how listeners learn to remap acoustic cues that are consistent with one category (e.g., voiceless) to a new category (e.g., voiced). The proposed project examines issues such as perceptual learning, generalization across words and speakers, and frequency effects in representation. As an applied component, the project also objectively examines the effectiveness of mainstream ESL methodologies by asking whether explicit phonetics training improves ESL student performance. This issue is critical as global communication continues to rapidly increase.
Sound was first recorded and reproduced by Thomas Edison in 1877. Until about 1950, when magnetic tape use became common, most recordings were made on mechanical media such as wax, foil, shellac, lacquer, and plastic. Some of these older recordings contain material of great historical value or interest but are damaged, decaying, or now considered too delicate to play. This talk will begin with a discussion of the history and technical basis of sound recording and the issues faced by archives and libraries as they strive to preserve, and create greater access to, these valuable materials. Recently, a series of techniques, based upon optical metrology and image analysis, have been applied to restoring historical sound recordings. Preservation studies on discs, cylinders, and dictation belts, and a project, with the Library of Congress, to develop an imaging workstation for disc media access will be described. These topics, and prospects for the future, will be illustrated with sounds and images.
In this talk I will review the sound systems of the Arawan linguistic family of Southwestern Amazonas, Brazil (Jarawara, Banawa, Jamamadi, Deni, Paumari, Suruwaha, and Kulina), focusing on stress and moraic constituency in Paumari. The data all come from my own fieldwork on all of these endangered languages. In Paumari feet are quantity-insensitive iambs, built from right-to-left within the prosodic word. Both of these latter claims are theoretically important because they violate some proposed universals of foot structure. The paper also discusses more general implications of the Paumari data for theories of foot size and shape, further developing two constraints from Everett (1990) on foot size, Foot Maximality and Foot Minimality, to replace the less fine-tuned constraint Foot Binarity.
Download the paper here.
The phenomenon of coarticulation is relevant for issues as varied as lexical processing and language change. However, research to date has not determined with certainty how far such effects can occur, nor how perceptible they are to listeners, at either the conscious or unconscious level. This study investigated anticipatory vowel-to-vowel (V-to-V) coarticulation. First, seven native speakers of English recorded sentences containing multiple consecutive schwas followed by [a] or [i]. The resulting acoustic data showed significant anticipatory vowel-to-vowel coarticulatory effects as many as three vowels before the context vowel. The perceptibility of these effects was then tested using behavioral methodology, and some pilot ERP data were also collected. Even the longest-distance effects were perceptible to some listeners. Of particular interest to historical linguistics is whether a correlation exists between ability to perceive coarticulatory effects and tendency to coarticulate. The results here offer limited support for this hypothesis, and are suggestive enough to warrant further study.
This paper reports the results of a wordlikeness experiment designed to investigate Cantonese speakers' gradient phonotactic knowledge of systematic versus accidental phonotactic gaps. The results showed that not all Cantonese systematic gaps were judged to be worse than accidental gaps. Certain systematic gaps consistently received higher goodness ratings than others and not all systematic gaps were judged as significantly more or less word-like than accidental gaps. Regression analyses showed that neighborhood density and transitional bigram probability were significant predictors of wordlikeness ratings.
This study addresses the question whether language-specific speech processing is tied to the lexicon. Many researchers have observed cross-linguistic difference in speech perception (e.g. Miyawaki, et al., 1975; Kuhl, et al., 1992). One explanation for such difference is that speech perception is mediated by the listener's lexical knowledge (Whalen, et al. 1997). Thus, via exemplar-based lexicon (Johnson & Mullennix, 1997), it is predicted that the speaker perceive not only the native phonemes differently from non-native phonemes but also frequent native phonemes differently from non-frequent native phonemes.
The type frequencies of voiceless stops in English and Japanese are different: /t/ is the most frequent voiceless stop in the English lexicon, while /k/ is most frequent stop in Japanese lexicon (Yoneyama, 2002). With this finding, the above hypothesis was tested by studying the response to /t/-/k/ continuum from American English speakers and Japanese speakers.
The experiment consists of the following three tasks: 1) the discrimination task based on four-interval two-alternative forced-choice same/different (4IAX) procedure, 2) identification task of the boundary in /k/-/t/ continuum, and 3) the rating task for the goodness of speech sound.
The results from 30 American participants and 26 Japanese participants will be presented at the talk. The implications for the theory of speech perception and encoding of linguistic/phonetic information will be discussed.
Acoustic analyses of voiced and whispered Mandarin Chinese reveal significant differences in duration and intensity among the four lexical tones, differences that are moreover similar across the two phonation types. In contrast to previous claims, however, these differences among the tones are found to shrink in whisper rather than being exaggerated to facilitate perception. Furthermore, individual variation exists in the production of whispered tones, which are found to shorten or lengthen with respect to voiced tones depending on the speaker.
The behavior of the Latin enclitics -que 'and', -ve 'or', and -ne 'not' remains one of the unsolved problems in Latin prosody. There are two basic possibilities, and any number of options sharing aspects of both: (1) stress regularly occurred on the syllable preceding the clitic; (2) the host-clitic group was stressed as a single phonological word. In this paper, building on recent work by Probert (2002), I address a previously neglected aspect of the problem: the distribution of the clitics with respect to the prosodic shape of the host word. Using a statistical analysis of the patterns of -que attachment in prose texts, I will argue for a new analysis of host-clitic prosody, and suggest that Latin meter provides independent evidence for it.
Jazz has long been considered America's own form of Western music, distinguished from the older European classical tradition by its "swing," a syncopated and uneven rhythm. Given its variation from other Western musical traditions, the underlying rhythmic properties of swing have not been as widely explored and formalized as those of Western classical tonal music. The same is true for aspects of swing that rely heavily on rhythm such as text-setting, the process of putting together linguistic and musical rhythms.
In my talk, I will sort out some of the similarities and differences between the rhythmic structures of jazz and classical music. This will ultimately result in a reanalysis of the current grid theory for describing musical rhythm from Jackendoff and Lerdahl's definitive 1983 text, A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. I will then explore text-setting in jazz based on this redeveloped metrical model, introducing some necessary revisions to the previous analyses of text-setting (by esp. Hayes 2005, Hayes and MacEachern 1997, Hayes and Kaun 1996). Finally, I will attempt to unite the issues and phenomena in text-setting, such as stress matching, phrasal alignment, and stanza formation, through an Optimality-based constraint ranking.