The meeting series of the Phonetics and Phonology Research Group
Also known as 'the P-workshop'. The programme consists of talks, seminars and discussions on subjects relating to phonetics and phonology (both synchonic and diachronic) and to speech technology.
Time and place
We normally meet on Friday, 12:10-13.00 (but not every Friday), in room S37 in 7 George Square.
The P-workshop is the forum of the Phonetics and Phonology Research Group. If you would like to give a talk, suggest a reading, or lead a session (or if you'd like to be added to the P-workshop mailing list), email the organisers: Patrick Honeybone, Gilly Marchini and Ricardo Napoleão de Souza.
Current and recent events
- [27th January 2023 (12.10-13:00). Sonja Dahlgren 'Phonetic typology with ultrasound tongue imaging - comparison of Finnish and Italian'. (Rescheduled from semester 1.)
- [10th February 2023 (12.10-13:00). Benjamin Elie Talk title TBC]
- [3rd March 2023 (12.10-13:00). Nina Markl Talk title TBC]
- [17th March 2023 (12.10-13:00). Savio Meyase Talk title TBC]
- [31st March 2023 (12.10-13:00). Dan Wells Talk title TBC]
- [Semester 2: Bert Remijsen, Mirella Blum and Jon Pen de Ngong 'Voice quality and tone as independent dimensions of contrast in Bor South Dinka'.]
- 18th November 2022 (12.10-13:00), room S1, 7 George Square. Ricardo Napoleão de Souza 'Links between prosodic structure and lexical stress: Boundary marking in English, Spanish, and Portuguese'. Abstract: In addition to f0 movement, speakers use a variety of fine phonetic adjustments to group speech units, often in language-specific ways. Recent research also suggests that those adjustments bear a relationship to lexical prosody, for instance stressed syllables. This talk discusses acoustic properties of segments near phrase-initial (IP) boundaries based on experimental data from three languages that differ in how lexical stress affects words. Results suggest a close relationship between prosodic structure and word prosody, thereby highlighting linguistic rather than biomechanical underpinnings to the marking of boundaries. Additionally, this study provides novel data that could explain positional asymmetries in how unstressed vowels are expressed in Portuguese.
- 4th November 2022 (12.10-13:00), room S1, 7 George Square. Gilly Marchini '/s/-lenition, vowel shortening and resyllabification in Southern Cone Spanish'.
- 21st October 2022 (12.10-13:00), room S1, 7 George Square. Bert Remijsen 'From concatenative to non-concatenative morphology in West Nilotic - evidence from Shilluk'. [NOTE THAT THE ROOM HAS BEEN CHANGED since this was originally announced: we'll be in S1 in 7 George Square.]
- 7th October 2022 (12.10-13:00), room S38, 7 George Square. Björn Köhnlein (Ohio State University) 'Let your feet carry you: how tones and segments are licensed by metrical structure'.
- 23rd September 2022 (12.10-13:00), room S38, 7 George Square. P-Workshop kick-off session – come along a meet other P-people.
- 25th February 2022 (12.10 start) Alice Turk 'Representations, Goals, and Processes in Speech Production'.
- 11th February 2022 (12.10 start) Matt King 'Hypocoristics in Chilean Spanish: A Stratal OT approach'.
- 21st January 2022 (12.10 start) Stefano Coretta 'Contextual variability in speech production as a source of sound change: Articulatory data as a window into the past, present and future'. Abstract: Can synchronic articulatory data shed light on diachronic phonology? If, adapting Givón's slogan to phonology, "today's variability is tomorrow's sound change, which is the day after tomorrow's variability", then the answer is a strong yes. This talk will cover a set of conceptual musings about the close link between articulation and sound change by reviewing recent experimental work on vowel duration and vowel nasalisation. In particular, we will see how ultrasound tongue imaging, electroglottography, and function MRI can afford us new perspectives on how articulatory mechanisms shape and constrain sound change. The talk will end with a list of possible further research ideas that would benefit from the approach advocated here.
- 10th December 2021 (12.10 start) Mits Ota '(Dis)harmony effects in word form judgement and learning'.
- 19th November 2021 (12.10 start) Yonatan Goldshtein (Aarhus University) 'Tone alone is not enough: how stød developed as a boundary cue'.
- 5th November 2021 (12.10 start) Ryan Gehrmann 'Evidence for the Common Origins of Rime Glottalization in Northeastern Austroasiatic (Vietic, Bolyu, Bugan & Mang)'. Abstract: Prototypically, Mainland Southeast Asian languages have innovated tonal contrasts under conditioning from a combination of historical onset phonation contrasts and coda laryngeal contrasts (Matisoff 1973). In this tonogenetic context, historical rime glottalization is often reanalyzed as tone, the sắc-nặng tones in Vietnamese open and sonorant-final syllables being a prime example (Haudricourt 1954). Rime glottalization (*-ʔ or *-Nˀ) is uncontroversially reconstructable for Proto-Vietic, where it contrasted with non-glottalized rimes (*- or *-N) (Ferlus 2004). Comparable contrasts of rime glottalization or laryngealization appear in two other branches of Austroasiatic - Katuic and Pearic - however these contrasts are not cognate across the three branches (Diffloth 1989, Sidwell & Rau 2015). They are proposed to be independent innovations within each branch (Ferlus 2004; Gehrmann 2015, 2019; Sidwell 2019). Thus, at this time, Proto-Vietic rime glottalization is generally considered to be an innovation. However, evidence has been presented that Proto-Vietic rime glottalization contrast is in fact cognate with tonal contrasts in Bolyu, a language outside of Vietic (Benedict 1990, Edmondson & Gregerson 1996). Bolyu and Bugan, the Pakanic languages of southern China, and the Mang language of northern Vietnam are tentatively coordinated under a primary branch of Austroasiatic called Mangic (Sidwell 2021). In this paper, new evidence supporting the cognacy of Proto-Vietic rime glottalization with tonal contrasts in Bolyu, Bugan and Mang is presented. These correspondences are unique within Austroasiatic and, depending on whether they represent (1) a shared, northeastern innovation or (2) a retention from Proto-Austroasiatic, their existence has implications for either (1) the sub-classification of Austroasiatic (i.e. a new Vieto-Mangic Hypothesis) or (2) the reconstruction of Proto-Austroasiatic rime glottalization patterns (cf. Diffloth’s (1989) Proto-Austroasiatic Creaky Voice hypothesis), respectively. The relative merits of these two hypotheses are discussed.
- 15th October 2021 (12.10 start) Jiayin Gao 'Recurrent sound change is drawn from a pool of systematic variation'. Abstract: The first part of my talk reviews reconstructed, incipient, or ongoing tonogenesis/tonal split, along with consonant devoicing/denasalisation in several languages I have worked on (Wu Chinese, Tamang, Korean, and Japanese). Preliminary observations suggest that the (unidirectional) change in laryngeal/nasal features (classically termed "fortition") along with the creation of a vocalic feature tends to be initiated in domain-initial positions. Whether such a positional/prosodic effect on sound change recurs needs more support from crosslinguistic data. The second part explores why this sound change may recur. It summarises experimental data from several studies of the EVOTONE project that test the consonant-pitch interaction in the laboratory. I will evaluate several models accounting for the phonetic motivations of sound changes, including recent proposals on prosodic domains. I will argue that while none of these models provide standalone explanations, the mechanisms underlying each model can each explain a part of the sound change described above. How these mechanisms constitute a causal chain determines whether and how sound change is initiated. I highlight the observation that higher-order linguistic structures tend to affect variations in different sound types (e.g., consonant vs. vowel) in a systematically different way, and propose that such systematicities may be one source initiating "recurrent sound changes".
- 1st October 2021 (12.10 start) (virtual) P-Workshop kick-off session. This will be an online event – we will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 18th June 2021 (14.10 start) Tatiana Reid 'Floating suprasegmental component in Nuer'.
- 14th May 2021 (14.10 start) Laura Arnold 'Highs and lows: Tone splits from vowel height in Raja Ampat'.
- 26th March 2021 (14.10 start) Itamar Kastner will lead a discussion of: Zuraw, Kie, Ann M. Aly, Isabelle Lin & Adam J. Royer (2019) 'Gotta catch ’em all: Skills grading in undergraduate linguistics.' Language 95(4), e406-e427.
- 19th March 2021 (14.10 start) Bert Remijsen 'A continuum of levels of juncture in Shilluk morphophonology'.
- 5th March 2021 (14.10 start) Laura Arnold 'The tonal phonologies of three undocumented Raja Ampat languages'. Abstract: Six Austronesian languages are spoken in the Raja Ampat archipelago (West Papua province, Indonesia): Ambel, Batta, Biga, Matbat, and varieties of Ma'ya and Salawati. These languages all belong to the Raja Ampat-South Halmahera branch of South Halmahera-West New Guinea. To date, only Ambel, Matbat, and Ma'ya have been well-studied (e.g. Arnold 2018; Remijsen 2001; Remijsen 2007). These three languages are very unusual for the Austronesian family, in that they all have systems of lexical tone. In this talk, I will present a first look at data from the three other Raja Ampat languages – the Butlih variety of Salawati, Batta, and Biga – collected during a recent field trip (Nov 2019-Jan 2020). Using these data, I will present analyses of the phonologies of the three languages, focussing on the word-prosodic systems. I will show that Butlih Salawati, Batta, and Biga all have lexical tone, just like the better-described Raja Ampat languages. Besides presenting new data from these three little-studied languages, this presentation will also therefore expand our knowledge of tone in Austronesian. In addition, the tonal inventory of Biga is highly typologically unusual, in that the unmarked tonal category (tonelessness) is of a lower pitch than the two marked tonal categories (High and Extra-High). The data presented here will thus contribute to what is known about the cross-linguistic possibilities and frequencies of tonal inventories more widely.
- 26th February 2021 (14.10 start) Gilly Marchini 'Vowel compression and Phonological rhythm in a speaker of Altiplateau Mexican Spanish'. Abstract: Vowel compression, although not a controversial topic, is much debated within Spanish. Despite previous claims that coda-induced compression, i.e., vowel shortening driven by the closing of a syllable, is universal, cross-dialectal Spanish-language research has questioned this, instead claiming that the complexity of the onset, not coda, is responsible for compression (Aldrich & Simonet 2019). In this talk, I will present on-going research into reduction patterns of Altiplateau Mexican Spanish, from Mexico’s Central Highlands (Mexico City, Toluca), which reveal that coda-induced compression is a feature of this variety. Durational, intensity and formant-frequency measurements from one speaker reveal that unstressed, mid and low vowels (/e, o, a/), centralise and shorten in word-final, post-tonic closed syllables. Using this data, I will argue for a dialect-specific approach to analysing compression effects prior to considering how dialect-specific phonetic-phonological interactions may allow certain varieties of Spanish to behave in a way typically associated with stress-timed languages, i.e., English (e.g., Frota & Vigário 2001). I will further link these results to wider debates concerning phonological rhythm, by considering: (i) how dialect-specific approaches bear upon fixed, dichotomous categorisations of stress- and syllable-timed languages (Dauer 1983, Smith & Rathcke 2020); and (ii) how findings relate to the controversial topic of rhythm metrics and the role of timing in marking prominence (Arvaniti 2009 2012, Turk & Shattuck-Hufnagel 2013). I will conclude by highlighting the next steps in the research and areas for development.
- 12th February 2021 (14.10 start) Rebekka Puderbaugh 'What to transcribe when you’re transcribing'. This will be an online event – we will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 18th December 2020 (14.10 start) P-workshop Virtual Chris-diddly-istmas Session, run by Patrick Honeybone - bring your own drink and mince pies. This will be an online event – we will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 4th December 2020 (14.10 start) Mirella Blum 'Cross-dialect variation in tone systems: Comparing tone in two previously-undescribed dialects of Dinka.' This will be an online event – we will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 20th November 2020 (15.30 start – NOTE THE UNUSUAL TIME) Matt King 'Simple clitics in Italo-Romance: dialectal variation and phrasal phonology'. This will be an online event – we will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 30th October 2020 (14.10 start) Jiayin Gao and James Kirby 'When is onset f0 perturbation enhanced? And what is enhancement after all?'. This will be an online event – we will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 25th September 2020 (14.10 start) (virtual) P-Workshop kick-off session. This will be an online event – we will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 15th May 2020 (14.10 start) Virtual P-workshop: Pavel Iosad 'Icelandic preaspiration and lenition: A stratal and life-cycle analysis'. We will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 17th April 2020 (14.10 start) Virtual P-workshop: William Peralta 'Place of articulation effects on the production and perception of voicing'. We will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 3rd April 2020(14.10 start) Virtual P-workshop: Itamar Kastner and WIll Tyler 'Serialization and the syntax-prosody interface in Degema serial verb constructions'. This is a practice virtual poster for a presentation that is happening at the virtual GLOW conference. We will send information to the P-workshop mailing list on how to take part.
- 24th January 2020 (14:10-15.00), room 1.20, DSB: Bob Ladd 'Eurocentric phonetics: The case of 'stress'. Abstract: Modern linguistics has largely stopped assuming the typological characteristics of European languages as a universal framework for describing languages elsewhere in the world. However, much current work on ‘stress’ still suffers from a Eurocentric perspective, both in its theoretical/typological expectations about how stress fits into phonology as a whole and in its methodological reliance on primary data based heavily on the impressions of listeners who are speakers of European languages. I outline some of the theoretical contradictions in current treatments of stress, and argue that they have been encouraged by (1) the early move in metrical phonology away from tree representations and toward grid representations, and (2) the concomitant elaboration of the notion of the foot. While the rhythmic phenomena that the foot is intended to account for are real, they are not universal and need not involve ‘stress’ under any phonetically defensible definition. Recognizing that stress is simply not a feature of many languages opens up a range of typological possibilities and provides a basis for empirically sound characterizations of the phonetic correlates of stress in languages that do have it.
- 6th December 2019 (14:10-15.00), room 1.17, DSB: Vittoria Moresco 'Phonological awareness in bilingual children with dyslexia'.
- 22nd November 2019 (14:10-15.00), room S38, 7 George Square: Pavel Iosad 'Russian yer quality is (almost) entirely predictable'.
- 8th November 2019 (14:10-15.00), room S38, 7 George Square: Julian Bradfield 'Recursivity in phonology – what can it mean below the word?'
- 25th October 2019 (14:10-15.00), room S38, 7 George Square: Patrick Honeybone 'Can phonotactics inhibit phonological change?'
- 11th October 2019 (14:10-15.00), room LG.10, David Hume Tower: Georges Sakr 'Close-mid Monophthongs in Central Mount Lebanon Lebanese'.
- 27th September 2019 (14:10-15.00), room S38, 7 George Square: P-Workshop kick-off session
- 2nd September 2019 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY - this is a Monday]: Christopher Heffner (University at Buffalo) 'Individual Differences in Phonetic Plasticity: Rate, Accent, and Learning'. Abstract: Speech understanding requires constant adjustment. This can be seen most radically when encountering new speech sound tokens in a second language, where categorizing non-native sounds requires learning. Yet adjustment to phonetic categories can be observed even within a native language, where tolerating variation between talkers in speech rate or in accent requires adaptation. Though non-native and native speech perception share similarities, it is unclear whether they rely on common cognitive resources. In the present study, we explore individual differences in each process in behavior. We focus first on adaptation to speech rate, finding that individual differences can be challenging in the world of rate adaptation. Next, we examine accent adaptation and both explicit learning and incidental learning of phonetic categories. In the end, we find interrelationships in performance on three of our measures of phonetic plasticity: explicit learning, accent adaptation, and rate adaptation. Better learners of non-native tokens in explicit tasks were also better adapters. This suggests that learning and adaptation may depend on shared behavioral plasticity.
- 2nd April 2019 (13:10-14:00), roomS38, 7 George Square [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY - this is a Tuesday]: Alice Turk (joint work with Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel) 'Evidence for a 3-component model of speech production with symbolic phonological representations and phonology-extrinsic timing'.
- 19th February 2019 (13:10-14:00), room 1.20, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY - this is a Tuesday]: Maria Dokovova (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh) 'Processing the speech of L2 speakers with your L1 background.' Abstract: It is common knowledge that listening to an unfamiliar accent will slow down and impair your understanding. However, surprisingly little is known about the effects of listening to your native accent in the context of a second language. In this study 94 L1 Bulgarian - L2 English bilinguals listened to English words produced either by native English speakers or by fellow L1 Bulgarian - L2 English bilinguals. The accent of the words and the English proficiency of the listeners were used to predict the reaction times and accuracy of recognising the stimuli, as well as their pattern of adaptation. The results indicate that the accent of the words plays an important role for the accuracy, speed of recognition and speed of adaptation, while the English proficiency of the participants interacted with the accent in affecting the overall speed of recognition of the words.
- 29th January 2019 (13:10-14:00), room 3.10, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY - this is a Tuesday]: Scott Sadowsky (Universidad Católica de Chile / Max Plank Institute, Jena) 'The sociolinguistics of Spanish vowels: it’s a thing!' Abstract: While vowels have long been an integral part of the sociolinguistic study of English, they have received scant attention in Spanish. What little research has been done on Spanish vowels has, with few exceptions, been either strictly descriptive or has compared the vowels of two countries. The paucity of research on their sociolinguistic variation seems to be due to the belief that little if any such variation actually exists. This talk presents a study of the effects of sex and socioeconomic status on the vowel allophones of 61 young adult speakers of Chilean Spanish. As a preliminary analysis showed that stress greatly influences vowel allophone production, the five vowels of Spanish were each divided into three classes: pre-stressed, stressed and post-stressed. The results show that the vowels of female and male speakers differ significantly in 12 of the 15 resulting vowel classes. They further show that the allophones of three vowel classes correlate significantly with SES in female speakers, while those of three different classes do so in male speakers. The rather extreme sex stratification of Chilean Spanish vowel allophones suggests that they play a key role in speakers’ sex/gender identity. Likewise, the six cases of socioeconomic stratification suggest that similarly stratified features of Chilean Spanish (in particular, the allophones of many consonants) are insufficient to meet young speakers’ needs in creating, signaling and identifying social identities. In light of these findings, I argue that the time has come for a new focus on the sociolinguistics of the vowels of all Spanish varieties.
- 7th December 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Rebekka Puderbaugh 'Acoustic description of laryngeal contrasts in Upper Necaxa Totonac'
- 16th November 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: James Kirby 'Perception of laryngeal contrast in Madurese'. Abstract: We present a study of native speaker perception of the putative three-way laryngeal contrast in the Malayo-Polynesian language Madurese. Madurese is notable for an unusual CV co-occurrence restriction, but it is not clear whether the salient perceptual cues to CV sequences are localized in the consonants or in the vowels. The results of perceptual identification and discrimination experiments suggests that, despite producing small but robust VOT differences between voiceless stops in production, these differences are not exploited by listeners in perception. Although two features are therefore necessary to define the laryngeal contrast in Madurese, one of these is highly abstract, and the contrast in voiceless stops is defined in terms of this feature rather than in terms of [spread].
- 2nd November 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Ryan Gehrmann 'Katuic presyllables and derivational morphology in diachronic perspective'
- 19th October 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Bert Remijsen 'Phonetics, phonology and morphophonology of vocalic quantity in Shilluk'
- 28th September 2018 (12:10-13:00), room 3.11, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL TIME]: François Conrad (Leibniz Universität Hannover ) 'Insights into the phonetics and phonology of Luxembourgish'. Abstract: Luxembourgish is a West-Germanic language spoken by only about 400.000 speakers. How does this language sound like and what's the structure of its sound system? And what are the linguistic repercussions of the strong (language) contact with German (East) and French (West and South) since many centuries that shaped not only the language itself but the country as a whole? François Conrad is going to present some answers to these questions in the light of his current research projects.
- 7th June 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 1.20, DSB: Pavel Iosad 'There is no problem of /v/ in Russian phonology'.
- 10th May 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 3.10, DSB: Rosalía Rodríguez-Vázquez (University of Vigo) 'Intonation accommodation in a language contact situation: the case of Galician Spanish'.
- 3rd May 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 1.20, DSB: Bert Remijsen 'Phantom vowels in Shilluk'.
- 22nd March 2018 (13.10-14.00), room 1.20, DSB: Discussion of: Bennett, Wm & Sharon Rose (2017) 'Moro voicelessness dissimilation and binary [voice].' Phonology 34, 473–505. This is a paper discussion and dissection session. Can we come up with alternative analyses for the data? Everyone should read the paper in advance of the session, so that we are all familiar with the data. We'll meet to talk about it. Anyone who would like can have a 5 - 10 minute slot (with a maximum of 2 or 3 slides) to propose a possible alternative analysis. Or if you think the analysis in the paper is right, to say why.
- 21st February 2018 (14.10-15.00), room 1.17, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY and TIME - THIS IS A WEDNESDAY]: Patrick Honeybone 'English r-sandhi for the 50 millionth time (but this time taking variation seriously)' [Joint meeting with the English Language Research Group and the Language Variation and Change Research Group.]
- 10th January 2018 (13:10-14:00), room 3.10, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY - THIS IS A WEDNESDAY]: Alexander Martin 'Relating perception and production in contact-induced change'. Abstract: The Dutch stop inventory contrasts prevoiced from voiceless stops both initially and medially, but not at all places of articulation. Indeed historically, Dutch has lacked the phoneme /ɡ/. Recently, however, many words have been borrowed from neighboring languages, including over 1,300 from English, and this heretofore foreign sound has been creeping its way into the language, to the extent that now even a minimal pair between native /k/ and emerging /ɡ/ exists: /koːl/, cabbage ~ /ɡoːl/, goal. We examined the extent of this change first by exploiting the Corpus Gesproken Nederlands and found a significant correlation between the population density of a region and the proportion of use of the new phoneme there. We then tested 51 native speakers of Dutch from all over the Low Countries and replicated this effect at the level of speakers’ hometowns. We further found a negative correlation between speakers’ VOTs of this new segment and their proportion of use of it in production, indicating a link between individual phonetics and phonology (i.e., speakers with a stronger phonetic contrast between native /k/ and emerging /ɡ/ were more likely to use /ɡ/ in loanwords). We also tested the same speakers on their perception of the new /k/~/ɡ/ contrast compared to native /p/~/b/ and found that speakers who are better at perceiving the new contrast also tend to use it more in production. Overall, our results indicate that the adoption of the new sound is relatively advanced in the young population we tested, but is still modulated by an array of individual-level factors including region of origin and ability to perceive the emerging contrast. We will discuss potential social and linguistic factors that might contribute to the evolution of this change.
- 11 December 2017 [NB: this is a Monday], 12.10-1pm , room 3.11, DSB: Lynn Clark (University of Canterbury) 'Medial /t/s in Middle Earth' [Joint meeting with the English Language Research Group and the Language Variation and Change Research Group.] Abstract: Compared with some other varieties of English around the world, New Zealand English (NZE) has a very small number of speakers. Despite this, work on NZE has had a disproportionately large impact on the field of Linguistics, not only in the description of this new variety but, crucially, in the development of models of phonological variation and change and new dialect formation. This has been made possible because of the availability of a number of different spoken corpora in New Zealand which span different time points in the development of this new variety, from its inception to the present day. Today, I will show how I have been using three different spoken corpora of NZE to investigate novel areas of linguistic research. First, using a corpus of spoken monologues, I will discuss patterns of within-speaker phonetic variation (in word medial, intervocalic /t/) that are similar to the types of priming effects we see in experimental psycholinguistic work. Next, using a corpus of contemporary conversation, I explore the extent to which these priming effects (again in medial /t/) are apparent in dyadic conversation. Finally, using a spoken corpus with a sizeable time depth, I investigate some aspects of long-term cross-speaker variability which could have taken place in early NZ English – in this part of the paper I consider the impact of the Scottish Vowel Length Rule on early NZ English.
- 2nd November 2017 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Erich Round (University of Queensland) 'Phonological phylogenetics'. Abstract: I discuss a science of 'phonological phylogenetics', in which synchrony and diachrony are viewed respectively as the knowable outcomes of inferable history. The adjectives here are important. Synchrony is knowable but not directly observable. All phonological data is the product of analysis, and since phonological analysis is non-deterministic, it is vital to ascertain how we should respond to the fact that our data contains significant uncertainty, of a rather particular type. The challenges this presents, and some initial, novel solutions are discussed. Meanwhile, diachrony is inferable but not entirely knowable. Reconstructions are probabilistic, and consequently some of our best tools are those of historical statistical inference. This is fortunate, since a great deal of fundamental mathematical research has already been done and we can now take advantage of it. As an example, I introduce the AusPhon-Lexicon database, containing comparably phonemicized lexicons of 240 Australian languages: around 330,000 lexical forms, or 2 million segments. The database is generative, and can derive any number of datasets according to the research question of the user. I show that the phonotactics of Australian laminal consonants, long thought to be distributed overwhelmingly according to areal / language-contact effects, can be shown in fact to harbour strong, vertical phylogenetic signal within the Pama-Nyungan language family, estimated to be on the order of 5,000 years old.
- 28th September 2017 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Sam Tilsen (Cornell University) 'Selection-coordination theory: viewing phonological structure as a projection over developmental time.' Abstract: Many phonological theories analyze speech as a hierarchical structure of segments, moras, and syllables, and this sort of structure is useful for describing cross-linguistic variation in phonological patterns. But does a hierarchical organization govern the production of speech? In this talk I will describe the Selection-coordination theory of speech production, which holds that articulation is not governed by a fixed hierarchical structure, but rather by flexibly assembled sets of articulatory gestures. The theory holds that selection and coordination mechanisms give rise to two prototypical control regimes: competitive control and coordinative control. Over the course of development, children acquire coordinative control over movements that were previously competitively controlled, this process being mediated by the internalization of sensory feedback. In this framework, segments, moras, and syllables are viewed as differently-sized instantiations of a more general motor planning unit, the organization of control in any given utterance is task/context-specific, and hierarchical structure is the byproduct of a developmental progression. Evidence for the theory is drawn from research in motor control, speech development, and phonological and phonetic patterns.
- 21st September 2017 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Donka Minkova (UCLA) 'Grenzsignale and phonological reconstruction: some test cases from Old and Middle English'.
- 15th September 2017 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY - THIS IS A FRIDAY]: James Kirby & Bob Ladd 'Effects of obstruent voicing on vowel F0: implications for laryngeal realism'.
- 13th September 2017 (12:10-13:00), room 1.17, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL TIME AND DAY - THIS IS A WEDNESDAY]: Matt Goldrick (Northwestern University) 'Continuous dynamics in speech and phonological cognition'. Abstract: During speech, the positions of the articulators evolve continuously in physical space. In ongoing work, we have proposed that mental representations underlying speech articulation evolve continuously in an abstract symbolic space, organized around the dimensions that define linguistic structure. To support this proposal -- Gradient Symbolic Computation (GSC) -- I will review acoustic phonetic data suggesting multiple planning elements can be co-activated and as a result co-produced in articulation. I will then present preliminary work examining how the dynamics of GSC may provide a novel, non-derivational account of opaque phonological processes.
- 5th June 2017 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB [NOTE UNUSUAL DAY - THIS IS A MONDAY]: Bronwen Evans (UCL) '"No Mummy, it's a b[ɑː]th not a b[æ]th!" The effects of language background and exposure on the processing of accented speech by monolingual and bilingual'. JOINT MEETING WITH the Language Variation and Change and Developmental Linguistics Research Groups. Abstract: Recent increases in complex international migration patterns have led to increasingly diverse multidialectal and multilingual communities, particularly within large urban centres, such as London. Such complex migration patterns mean that native, monolingual, children are likely to encounter not just different, native regional accents but also foreign-accented speech. Children raised bi- or multilingually within these communities will likely be exposed to still more variability; accented speech in their home language, foreign-accented speech and accented speech in their community language. Being able to deal with accent variation is a fundamental part of developing communicative competence. However, relatively little is known about how children develop the ability to perceive differences between accents and use this knowledge to aid comprehension. Still less is known about how this might be affected by language background. In this talk I will present findings from a recent study that investigated accent processing in monolingual and bilingual children from a diverse accent community in London, and discuss preliminary findings from ongoing work with children growing up in a more homogenous language setting (Hampton, UK). Taken together, the results suggest that differences in early exposure to variation in the language environment lead to differences in the processing of sociolinguistic variation in young children.
- 18th May 2017 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Jade Jørgen Sandstedt 'Why is there so much disharmony in harmony languages?'
- 13th April 2017 (12:10-13:00), room 1.17, DSB: Soundess Azzabou-Kacem 'Stress shift in English Rhythm Rule environments: Effects of prosodic boundary strength and stress clash types'. Abstract available here.
- 9th February 2017 (13:10-14:00), room 1.20, DSB: Pertti Palo (QMU, Edinburgh) 'Patterns of Articulatory Activation in Delayed Naming'. Abstract: During my PhD project I have studied speech initiation with delayed naming experiments mainly recorded with ultrasound tongue imaging (UTI). I have developed methods for automatically analysing the articulatory data from UTI. In my presentation I will give a brief background for the experiments and the automatic analysis methods, followed by results on the timing relationships of acoustic and articulatory onsets. My results repeat the previous finding that the acoustic reaction time is inversely (negatively) correlated with acoustic duration of an onset consonant. I further show that this phenomenon originates in the interval from Articulatory onset to Acoustic onset and provide preliminary analysis on the parts of the tongue responsible for initiating movement in different onset consonant contexts.
- 8th December 2016 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Siri Gjersøe (University of Leipzig) 'Tone and nominal inflection in Nuer'.
- 1st December 2016 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Bob Ladd 'Three-way stop voicing contrast in Swiss German'.
- 24th November 2016 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Bert Remijsen 'Three-level vowel length in Shilluk'.
- 17th November 2016 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Qian Luo (Michigan State University) 'Consonantal Effects on Pitch in Tonal Languages' [slides available here].
- 3rd November 2016 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Ben Molineaux 'Phonological and morphological patterns in Mapudungun stress assignment'.
- 13th October 2016 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: Michael Ramsammy 'Sibilant sandhi and hybrid voicing contrast in European Portuguese'.
- 29th September 2016 (13:10-14:00), room 1.17, DSB: James Kirby 'Microprosody and tonogenesis'.
- 30th June 2016: Stephanie Shih (UC Merced) 'Mende tonotactics in surface optimizing multilevel grammar'.
- 9th June 2016: Myfany Turpin (University of Sydney) 'Syllabic meter in Arandic languages of central Australia'.
- 2nd June 2016: Tatiana Reid (University of Surrey) 'Nuer morphophonology: the verbal paradigm'.
- 27th April 2016: Bryan Gick (University of British Columbia) 'Are speech universals hard-wired…in the body?'
For older events, have a look at our archive: