Monthly Archives: December 2017

Breit (2017) – Melodic heads, saliency, and strength in voicing and nasality

Melodic heads, saliency, and strength in voicing and nasality
Florian Breit
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003684
September 2017
Melodic Heads in Element Theory (Kaye et al. 1985; Harris & Lindsey 1995; Backley 2011) have long been associated with higher acoustic saliency of the headed prime’s properties (Lindsey & Harris 1990; Backley 1995; Harris & Lindsey 1995; et alia) and with the relative strength (e.g. alignment of melodic heads with strong positions and robustness of headed expressions against lenition) of a melodic head compared to a dependent (e.g. Backley & Nasukawa 2009). Following substantial work on the interaction of voicing and nasality (Nasukawa 1997, 2005; Ploch 1999; Botma 2004) it is commonly assumed that voicing and nasality are both represented by the same prime |L|, with dependent |L| encoding nasality and headed |_L_| encoding voicing. In this paper I counter some of the arguments for the universality of this implementation, and develop an alternative view of a unified voicing–nasality prime, in which voicing is encoded by dependent |L| and nasality by headed |_L_|. I show how this analysis is more consistent with both the saliency and strength arguments by considering arguments based on the represented acoustic patterns, positional strength, nasal sharing (nasal harmony within onset–nucleus pairs), and cross-linguistic biases against loss of nasality. Finally, I show how this account is compatible with a more restrictive, recursive view of the phonological interpretation component following the set theoretic model of Element Theory in Breit (2013). Based on these arguments I conclude that we have good reason to doubt the universality of Nasukawa (1997, 2005) and Ploch’s (1999) implementation; instead we must give serious consideration to the reverse option with headed |L| for nasality and dependent |L| for voicing. I suggest that there are two possible responses to this situation: we can either make the attempt to radically adopt the alternative, or we can adopt a more relativistic position (in the sense of Cyran 2011, 2014) which allows a choice between both options.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003684
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Published in: Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
keywords: element theory, nasals, headedness, saliency, strength, phonology
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Yates (2017) – Lexical Accent in Cupeño, Hittite, and Indo-European

Lexical Accent in Cupeño, Hittite, and Indo-European
Anthony Yates
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003675
September 2017
This dissertation develops optimality-theoretic analyses of word-level stress assignment in two languages with lexical accent, Cupeño (Takic, Uto-Aztecan) and Hittite (Anatolian, Indo- European); it also assesses the implications of word stress in Hittite and the other Anatolian languages for the reconstruction of stress assignment in Proto-Indo-European. I argue that stress assignment in Cupeño is governed by the BASIC ACCENTUATION PRINCIPLE (BAP; Kiparsky and Halle 1977): stress is assigned to the leftmost lexically accented morpheme, else to the word’s left edge. This analysis is compared to that of Alderete (1999, 2001), who argues that Cupeño shows accentual root faithfulness — i.e., that the accentual properties of roots are privileged over non-root morphemes. I show that the BAP analysis is both simpler and attains greater empirical coverage than the root faithfulness analysis, which fails to account for certain attested stress patterns that are captured under the BAP analysis. Thus reanalyzed, Cupeño has two important typological implications. First, without support from Cupeño, root faithfulness may be unattested as a feature of lexical accent systems. Second, Cupeño provides a clear typological parallel for the ancient IE languages on the basis of which the BAP was posited — in particular, Vedic Sanskrit — as well as for Hittite, where I argue that it is also operative. The analysis of Hittite stress advanced in this dissertation is the first systematic attempt at a synchronic generative treatment of its word stress patterns. Having established that stress assignment in Hittite inflection is governed by the BAP, I also adduce evidence for accentual dominance — i.e., morphemes whose accentual specification “overrides” the BAP. I propose that accentual dominance in Hittite is a consequence of morphological headedness: the lexical accent of the word’s head morpheme is privileged in Hittite, just as Revithiadou (1999) has argued for other lexical accent systems. Finally, this dissertation addresses the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) word-prosodic system. Hittite and the other Anatolian languages are not traditionally viewed as important sources for the reconstruction of this system; however, I contend that the BAP is reconstructible for PIE and that — against this traditional view — this reconstruction depends crucially on the Anatolian evidence, which converges with Vedic Sanskrit in this respect.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003675
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Published in: PhD dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
keywords: indo-european, uto-aztecan, word prosody, historical linguistics, morphology, phonology
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Blanchette & Nadeu (2017) – Prosody and the meanings of English negative indefinites

Prosody and the meanings of English negative indefinites
Frances Blanchette, Marianna Nadeu
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003667
September 2017
This paper investigates the acoustic correlates of Negative Concord (NC) and Double Negation (DN) readings of English negative indefinites in question-answer pairs. Productions of four negative words (no one, nobody, nothing, and nowhere) were elicited from 20 native English speakers as responses to negative questions such as “What didn’t you eat?” in contexts designed to generate either a single negation NC reading or a logically affirmative DN reading. A control condition with no negation in the question was employed for comparison. A verification question following each item determined whether tokens were produced with the target interpretation. Statistical analysis of the f0 curves revealed a significant difference: DN is associated with a higher fundamental frequency than NC. In contrast, the NC and single negative control conditions were not significantly different with respect to f0. Analysis of the verification question responses showed significant differences between all three conditions (Control > DN > NC), in support of the hypothesis that participants assigned DN and NC structures to the single negative words in the critical conditions. The results are compared with previous work on Romance, and we demonstrate how English behaves like a prototypical NC language in that DN is the prosodically marked form.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003667
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Published in:
keywords: double negation, negative concord, prosody, syntax, english, denial negation, semantics, syntax, phonology
previous versions: v1 [September 2017]
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Rasin, Berger, Lan & Katzir (2017) – Learning rule-based morpho-phonology

Learning rule-based morpho-phonology
Ezer Rasin, Iddo Berger, Nur Lan, Roni Katzir
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003665
September 2017
Speakers’ knowledge of the sound pattern of their language — their knowledge of morpho-phonology — goes well beyond the plain phonetic forms of words. According to a long-standing model in linguistics, morpho-phonological knowledge is distributed between a lexicon with morphemes, usually referred to as Underlying Representations (URs), and context-sensitive rewrite rules that transform URs to surface forms. In this paper we provide what to our knowledge is the first unsupervised learner that acquires both URs and phonological rules, including both optionality and rule interaction (both transparent and opaque), from distributional cues alone. Our learner is based on the principle of Minimum Description Length (MDL) which — like the closely related Bayesian approach — aims at balancing the complexity of the grammar and its fit of the data.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003665
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Published in: Submitted
keywords: learning, evaluation metrics, minimum description length, phonology, rule-based phonology, opacity, phonology
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Volenec & Reiss (2017) – Cognitive Phonetics: The Transduction of Distinctive Features at the Phonology-Phonetics Interface

Cognitive Phonetics: The Transduction of Distinctive Features at the Phonology-Phonetics Interface
Veno Volenec, Charles Reiss
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003641
August 2017
We propose that the interface between phonology and phonetics is mediated by a transduction process that converts elementary units of phonological computation, features, into temporally coordinated neuromuscular patterns, called ‘True Phonetic Representations’, which are directly interpretable by the motor system of speech production. Our view of the interface is constrained by substance-free generative phonological assumptions and by insights gained from psycholinguistic and phonetic models of speech production. To distinguish transduction of abstract phonological units into planned neuromuscular patterns from the biomechanics of speech production usually associated with physiological phonetics, we have termed this interface theory ‘Cognitive Phonetics’ (CP). The inner workings of CP are described in terms of Marr’s (1982/2010) tri-level approach, which we used to construct a linking hypothesis relating formal phonology to neurobiological activity. Potential neurobiological correlates supporting various parts of CP are presented. We also argue that CP augments the study of certain phonetic phenomena, most notably coarticulation, and suggest that some phenomena usually considered phonological (e.g., naturalness and gradience) receive better explanations within CP.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003641
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Published in: Biolinguistics
keywords: phonology-phonetics interface, cognitive phonetics, distinctive features, transduction, neurobiology of language, biolinguistics, substance-free generative phonology, intrasegmental and intersegmental coarticulation, phonology
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Zdziebko (2017) – Polish vowel backing: a feature geometric approach

Polish vowel backing: a feature geometric approach
Slawomir Zdziebko
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003640
August 2017
Polish vowel backing involves the integration of the vocalic nodes marked for feature [open] into the structure of the stems. The floating vocalic nodes constitute the realization of the categorizing N-heads merged with the roots. The items which always possess front vowels in the context of the palatalized consonant are represented with their final vowel-consonant sequences sharing the V-place nodes, thus any instance of palatalization will always affect both the vowel and the consonant. Such items, as well as what Gussmann (1980) calls ‘positive exceptions to Backing’ (e.g. kobi/et/+a ‘woman, nom, sg.’ and bi/es/ ‘devil, nom, sg.’) realize the root and the N-head by means of the stem exponent. The items which show backing in spite of the presence of palatalizing suffixes (e.g. śl/adz’/+ik ‘trace, dim, nom, sg.’) will be shown to be in fact complex words composed of the root, N-head realized as the backing autosegment, and an N/A-head realized as a palatalizing suffix.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003640
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Published in: submitted
keywords: backing, opacity, palatalization, polish, feature geometry, ot, morphology, phonology
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Stanton (2017) – Environmental shielding is contrast preservation

Environmental shielding is contrast preservation
Juliet Stanton
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003623
August 2017
The term “environmental shielding” refers to a class of processes in which the phonetic realization of a nasal stop depends on its vocalic context. In Chiriguano (Tupí; Dietrich 1986), for example, nasal consonants are realized as such before nasal vowels (/mã/ → [mã]), but acquire an an oral release before oral vowels (/ma/ → [mba]). Herbert (1986) claims that shielding protects a contrast between oral and nasal vowels: if Chiriguano /ma/ were realized as [ma], [a] would likely carry some degree of nasal coarticulation, and be less distinct from nasal /ã/. This article provides new arguments for Herbert’s position, drawn from a large typological study of South American languages. I argue that environmental shielding is contrast preservation, and that any successful analysis of shielding must make explicit reference to contrast. These results contribute to a growing body of evidence that constraints on contrast are an essential component of phonological theory.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003623
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Published in: to appear in Phonology
keywords: environmental shielding, contrast, nasality, phonotactics, phonology
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Kilbourn-Ceron (2017) – Speech production planning affects variation in external sandhi [PhD Thesis]

Speech production planning affects variation in external sandhi [PhD Thesis]
Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003601
July 2017
Phonological variation is common in many alternations, especially in processes where the target and the trigger of the alternation are in different words—external sandhi processes. Much previous work on external sandhi has addressed the morpho-syntactic locality conditions that restrict these cross-word processes, but they are also often sensitive to phonetic and usage factors like pauses, speech rate, lexical frequency, and speech style. What has not been explored in previous work is why these factors are consistently associated with external sandhi. This thesis pursues the hypothesis that patterns of external sandhi variation are shaped by online speech production planning constraints, which can mediate the effect of both grammatical and non-grammatical factors. I investigate the Production Planning Hypothesis (PPH) proposal that the narrow window of phonological encoding can block application of external sandhi processes—if the triggering context is not within the same planning window as the target of a process, it cannot apply. The size of the speech planning window is variable, and has been shown to be influenced by many of the factors associated with phonological variation. The predictions of the PPH are tested in case studies of three different external sandhi processes. These studies also contribute to a general understanding of the relationship between variability and syntactic, prosodic, and lexical factors. The first study investigates the effect of word boundaries, prosodic position, and phonetic pauses on variation of high vowel devoicing (HVD) in Tokyo Japanese. Statistical modeling of HVD patterns in a corpus of spontaneous speech suggests that these factors jointly affect HVD, and that position within a prosodic phrase modulates the effect of speech rate and lexical frequency on HVD. It is proposed that two distinct processes underlie HVD, one that is sensitive to the segmental content of the upcoming word (interconsonantal HVD), and another that is triggered by strong prosodic boundaries (phrase-final HVD). Under this view, part of the variation can be explained under the PPH as production planning effects on interconsonantal HVD. In a second case study, two factors previously associated with external sandhi variation are tested directly: syntactic structure, and lexical frequency. Both of these factors have also been shown to affect speech planning and therefore, according to the PPH, should affect external sandhi. In a production experiment, we examine the effect of a clause boundary on realization of word-final coronal stops in North American English. Clause boundaries are found to have a gradient inhibitory effect on flapping, beyond the effect of associated final lengthening. The PPH explanation for this effect is that a clause boundary induces a delay while high-level planning of the next clause takes place, so segmental details of a potentially flap-triggering word will rarely be available. In contrast, a word that is within the same clause is much more like to be planned within the same window. Lexical frequency can also affect the time course of speech planning. Higher lexical frequency is associated with faster retrieval, so the PPH predicts that the realization of a word-final coronal stop will be related to the frequency of the word that follows it. A higher frequency following word will be retrieved more quickly, and be more likely to trigger flapping. The relationship between lexical frequency and coronal stop realization is examined in a corpus of American English, and a positive correlation is found between frequency and flapping, as predicted. The third case study extends testing of PPH predictions to a non-reductive external sandhi process: liaison in French. Frequency and also predictability are used as proxies for upcoming word availability. The PPH predicts that the correlations should be positive, just as for flapping, since both flapping and liaison rely on the knowledge that the upcoming word starts with a vowel. Examination of two syntactic contexts suggests that increased following word predictability, measured by both local (conditional probability) and global (lexical frequency), increase the likelihood of liaison application. Finding the same effect for the qualitatively distinct processes of flapping and liaison lends support to the PPH proposal that accessibility of the word containing the triggering information for sandhi constrains application of the process. The PPH offers a unified account of variation in external sandhi related to both grammatical and non-grammatical factors. In addition, the PPH makes many new, testable predictions for future work: the size of the window for phonological encoding should be correlated with the application of external sandhi, with less sandhi applying when the window is more narrow.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003601
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Published in: PhD Thesis, McGill University
keywords: speech production planning, corpus phonology, phonological variation, french liaison, high vowel devoicing, japanese, flapping, external sandhi, phonology
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Tokizaki (2017) – Righthand Head Rule and the typology of word stress

Righthand Head Rule and the typology of word stress
Hisao Tokizaki
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003677
June 2017
It has been pointed out that there are languages that violate the Righthand Head Rule (RHR) for words and compounds (Williams (1981) among others). This paper argues that the languages violating RHR have righthand word-stress such as penultimate stress, which blocks head-final order in linearization. A stress-based theory of linearization (Tokizaki (2011), Tokizaki and Kuwana (2013b)) straightforwardly explains why RHR is observed in some languages and not in others. It is argued that we do not need morphological head parameters as well as syntactic head parameters.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003677
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Published in: KLS 37, 253-264. Kansai Linguistic Society.
keywords: compound, head parameter, linearization, morphological parameter, morphology, phonology
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Gorman & Yang (2017) – When nobody wins

When nobody wins
Kyle Gorman, Charles Yang
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003614
June 2017
As young children vividly illustrate with their performance on the wug-test (Berko 1958), the ability to generalize linguistic patterns to novel items is a core property of language. It thus comes as a surprise when we stumble into a dark and dusty corner of language where our boundless linguistic productivity has unexpectedly failed. We propose that such lexical gaps arise in precisely those linguistic contexts for which the Tolerance Principle (Yang 2005, 2016) identifies no productive generalizations. We illustrate this proposal with detailed case studies from Spanish, Polish, and Russian.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003614
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Published in: Competition in inflection and word formation.
keywords: gaps, inflectional gaps, defectivity, productivity, morphology, phonology
previous versions: v1 [May 2017]
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