Monthly Archives: November 2017

Cotterell, Peng & Eisner (2015) – Modeling Word Forms Using Latent Underlying Morphs and Phonology

Modeling Word Forms Using Latent Underlying Morphs and Phonology
Ryan Cotterell, Nanyun Peng, Jason Eisner
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003367
August 2015
The observed pronunciations or spellings of words are often explained as arising from the “underlying forms” of their morphemes. These forms are latent strings that linguists try to reconstruct by hand. We propose to reconstruct them automatically at scale, enabling generalization to new words. Given some surface word types of a concatenative language along with the abstract morpheme sequences that they express, we show how to recover consistent underlying forms for these morphemes, together with the (stochastic) phonology that maps each concatenation of underlying forms to a surface form. Our technique involves loopy belief propagation in a natural directed graphical model whose variables are unknown strings and whose conditional distributions are encoded as finitestate machines with trainable weights. We define training and evaluation paradigms for the task of surface word prediction, and report results on subsets of 7 languages

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003367
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: TACL
keywords: computational phonology, morphology, phonology
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Morley (2017) – Is Phonological Consonant Epenthesis Possible? A Series of Artificial Grammar Learning Experiments

Is Phonological Consonant Epenthesis Possible? A Series of Artificial Grammar Learning Experiments
Rebecca Morley
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003354
September 2017
Consonant epenthesis is typically assumed to be part of the basic repertoire of phonological gram- mars. This implies that there exists some set of linguistic data that entails the selection of epenthesis as the best analysis. However, a series of artificial grammar learning experiments found no evidence that learners ever selected an epenthesis analysis. Instead, strong phonetic and morphological biases were revealed, along with individual variation in how learners generalized and regularized their input. These results, in combination with previous work, suggest that synchronic consonant epenthesis may only emerge very rarely, from a gradual accumulation of changes over time. It is argued that the theoretical status of epenthesis must be reconsidered in light of these results, and that analysis of the sufficient learning conditions, and the diachronic developments necessary to produce those conditions, are of central importance to synchronic theory generally.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003354
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: unpublished
keywords: consonant epenthesis; artificial grammar; phonetics; morphology; diachrony; rule inversion, phonology
previous versions: v1 [March 2017]
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Ulfsbjorninn (2017) – Markedness and Formalising Phonological Representations

Markedness and Formalising Phonological Representations
Shanti Ulfsbjorninn
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003347
February 2017
Haspelmath (2006) argues that the concept of markedness is confused and problematic. He urges linguists to dispense with the term. One principle criticism is that markedness solutions seem always to require further explanation rather than actually providing answers (Samuels 2011). Concordantly, Hale & Reiss (2000, 2008), pioneers of Substance Free Phonology (SFP) argue that markedness has no place in what should be a formal theory of linguistic competence, thereby excluding phonetics and diachrony. Accepting the significant merit of these strains of thought (and many of their conclusions), this paper shows that there is nonetheless space for a theory of markedness in formal phonology. By examining markedness from a highly representational viewpoint, I will show that ‘markedness as complexity’ does have an explanatory role, at least for syllable structure. I will demonstrate that markedness is explicable in terms of ‘structural complexity’ and ‘length of description’. The core demonstration will be Charette’s (1990, 1991, 1992) typology and analysis of consonant clusters (CCs). Her papers discovered important implicational universals she related these directly to representations. As well as enriching the typology, my contribution will be to arrange the principles and parameters into a decision tree that derives the implicational universals. I will demonstrate that the number of parameter settings (the depth in the decision tree) increases the markedness of the resultant grammar (cf. Ulfsbjorninn 2014). Each parametric ‘yes’ setting corresponds to an extra empty phonological category or extra ability to license in the representation. For this reason, markedness is not merely a ‘metaphor’ ‘for a cognitive state’ (Haspelmath 2006), it is directly convertible into linguistic categories. This markedness is still ‘extra-grammatical’; it is not part of the computation of forms (contra Optimality Theory) and markedness statements cannot be re-ranked to obtain different grammars. However, markedness is one step in the chain of explanation for: (a) the apparent step-wise variation of complexity and implicational universals of consonant clusters. (b) the Trubetzkoy hypothesis. I will defend markedness in the same terms as Gurevich (2001) criticises it: ‘[as a] an encoding of a universal ‘naturalness’ in the phonology’. Crucially, this naturalness is a product internal to the phonology (adjacency, licensing, parameter settings) and not grounded in phonetics.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003347
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear: Samuels, B. D. (Ed.). Beyond Markedness in Formal Phonology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
keywords: markedness, phonology, empty categories, empty nuclei, consonant clusters, strict cv, substance free phonology, phonology
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Kilbourn-Ceron & Sonderegger (2017) – Boundary phenomena and variability in Japanese high vowel devoicing

Boundary phenomena and variability in Japanese high vowel devoicing
Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron, Morgan Sonderegger
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003341
February 2017
Devoicing of high vowels (HVD) in Tokyo Japanese applies in two environments—between voiceless consonants, and between a voiceless consonant and a “pause”—and applies variably as a function of a number of factors. The role and definition of “pause” in this process, in terms of a physical pause or prosodic position (word or phrase boundary), remains unclear, as does what is expected when these environments overlap, and why HVD appears to be categorical in some environments and variable in others. This paper addresses three outstanding issues about HVD—the role of “boundary phenomena” (prosodic position and physical pauses), the relationship between the two environments, and the sources of variability in HVD—by examining vowel devoicing in a large corpus of spontaneous Japanese. We use mixed-effects logistic regression to model how boundary phenomena affect the likelihood of devoicing and modulate the effects of other variables, controlling for other major factors, including a measure of gestural overlap. The results suggest that all boundary phenomena jointly affect devoicing rate, and that prosodic phrase boundaries play a key role: variability in HVD looks qualitatively different for phrase-internal and phrase-final vowels, which are affected differently by word frequency, speech rate, and pause duration. We argue the results support an account of HVD as the result of two overlapping vowel devoicing processes, each widely-attested cross-linguistically: devoicing between voiceless consonants, and devoicing before prosodic phrase boundaries. Variability in the application of these two processes can then be partially explained in terms of aspects of phonetic implementation and processing: gestural overlap (Beckman, 1996), which often plays a role in reduction processes, and the locality of production planning (Wagner, 2012), a recent explanation for variability in the application of external sandhi processes.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003341
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
keywords: phonological variability, prosodic boundaries, corpus phonology, japanese, vowel devoicing, external sandhi, connected speech processes, spontaneous speech, word boundaries, phonology
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Leivada, Papadopoulou, Kambanaros & Grohmann (2017) – The Influence of Bilectalism and Non-standardization on the Perception of Native Grammatical Variants

The Influence of Bilectalism and Non-standardization on the Perception of Native Grammatical Variants
Evelina Leivada, Elena Papadopoulou, Maria Kambanaros, Kleanthes K. Grohmann
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003340
February 2017
Research in speakers of closely related varieties has shown that bilectalism and non-standardization affect speakers’ perception of the variants that exist in their native languages in a way that is absent from the performance of their monolingual peers. One possible explanation for this difference is that non-standardization blurs the boundaries of grammatical variants and increases grammatical fluidity. Affected by such factors, bilectals become less accurate in identifying the variety to which a grammatical variant pertains. Another explanation is that their differential performance derives from the fact that they are competent in two varieties. Under this scenario, the difference is due to the existence of two linguistic systems in the course of development, and not to how close or standardized these systems are. This study employs a novel variety-judgment task in order to elucidate which of the two explanations holds. Having administered the task to monolinguals, bilectals, and bilinguals, including heritage language learners and L1 attriters, we obtained a dataset of 16,245 sentences. The analysis shows differential performance between bilectal and bilingual speakers, granting support for the first explanation. We discuss the role of factors such as non-standardization and linguistic proximity in language development and flesh out the implications of the results in relation to different developmental trajectories.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003340
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Published in: Frontiers in Language Sciences
keywords: bilingualism, l1 attrition, heritage language learning, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology
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Cavirani & Van Oostendorp (2017) – On silent markedness

On silent markedness
Edoardo Cavirani, Marc Van Oostendorp
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003337
April 2017
Empty categories – positions in phonological representations that have no direct phonetic counterpart – are still controversial in phonology. In this paper we give the main arguments for still assuming such positions and furthermore establish a markedness category for empty positions: some of them are stronger than others, and we can derive this from a combination of Element Theory and Turbidity Theory. We illustrate this with Italian and Dutch dialects, and point out that the phonological hierarchy of empty positions may correspond to a hierarchy of syntactic positions.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003337
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: empty positions, markedness, licensing, phonology
previous versions: v1 [February 2017]
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Stanton (2017) – Segmental Blocking in Dissimilation: An Argument for Co-Occurrence Constraints

Segmental Blocking in Dissimilation: An Argument for Co-Occurrence Constraints
Juliet Stanton
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003330
February 2017
Most contemporary work assumes that dissimilation is motivated by featural co-occurrence constraints: a process that maps /X…X/ to [X…Y] (for example) is explained by positing a ban on co-occurring [X]s (e.g. Alderete 1997, Suzuki 1998; though cf. Bennett 2015). I show how this approach can be extended to analyze the typology of segmental blocking effects in long-distance consonant dissimilation, and provide evidence from lexical statistics in support of the analysis. Preliminary results indicate that the proposed analysis makes more accurately restrictive predictions than available alternatives.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003330
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in AMP 2016 proceedings. COMMENTS WELCOME!
keywords: dissimilation, blocking, phonology
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Hosono (2017) – Exceptional Movement from/into the Criterial Position

Exceptional Movement from/into the Criterial Position
Mayumi Hosono
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003324
February 2017
In this paper, I discuss exceptional movement from/into the Criterial Position within the framework of Labeling Algorithm (Chomsky 2013, 2015). I argue, contra Chomsky (ibid.), that a category raised into the Criterial Position should not be able to move up further in the derivational system of Labeling Algorithm. In Scandinavian Object Shift (Holmberg 1986), the object pronoun can exceptionally move out of the Spec of R, which is the Criterial Position for objects in the unmarked case in which they complete the valuation of their unvalued Case feature. In Icelandic Stylistic Fronting (Holmberg 2000), the categories that do not have any feature(s) in which they should agree with T can exceptionally move to the Spec of T, which is a typical Criterial Position claimed in the literature (Rizzi 2015). On the basis of the literature (Hosono 2013, Holmberg 2000), I propose that these kinds of exceptional syntactic movement from/into the Criterial Position in which a raised category does not have any unvalued feature(s) (in which it should agree with a head in a raised position) can occur only when it is required from phonology. I also suggest that a sentential element without any unvalued feature(s) can merge (either externally or internally) to a lower position/Spec of a head the projection of which has already been labeled: when a higher syntactic object is already labeled, a syntactic object inside it does not need a new label, with a sentential element merged (either externally or internally) to a lower position/Spec unnecessary to agree with any head.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003324
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Published in: Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 97 (2016) 23-39
keywords: criterial position, labeling algorithm, scandinavian object shift, icelandic stylistic fronting, syntax, phonology
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SCiL schedule and abstracts available

The schedule and abstracts for the inaugural meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics, to be held concurrently with the LSA annual meeting Jan. 4-7 in Salt Lake City, can be found here: http://blogs.umass.edu/phonolist/files/2017/11/scil-schedule.pdf. It will include a special workshop on Perceptrons and Syntactic Structures at 60, and the Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics meeting will also be held with SCiL.

 

 

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