Do & Lai (2018) – Measuring phonological distances in a tonal language: an experimental and computational investigation with Cantonese

Measuring phonological distances in a tonal language: an experimental and computational
investigation with Cantonese

Youngah Do, Ryan Ka Yau Lai
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004369
October 2018
To explore how speakers measure phonological distances in tonal languages, we conducted distance judgement tests of word pairs from Cantonese speakers, then fit Bayesian
multilevel models to predict the results from various distance metrics. We find that Hamming distances between segments based on multivalued features and tonal represe
ntations incorporating pitch contours, including pitch changes across syllables when applicable, consistently perform best. Moreover, onsets are consistently weighted he
avier than codas and tones, although the importance of the nucleus varies between monosyllabic and disyllabic words. We discuss how the current results inform the unders
tanding of phonotactic learning models of tonal languages.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004369
(please use that when you cite this article)
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ywords:
phonological distances, computational phonology, bayesian modeling, tone, cantonese, phonology
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