Monthly Archives: July 2019

Fenger (2019) – Size matters: auxiliary formation in the morpho-syntax and morpho-phonology

Size matters: auxiliary formation in the morpho-syntax and morpho-phonology
Paula Fenger
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004674
July 2019
This paper investigates the limits on word formation by looking at periphrastic (V+aux) and agglutinating (V+suffix) verb patterns. I propose that creating syntactic words is limited by phase boundaries and that language variation comes from (i) whether Tense/Mood/Aspect elements can or cannot be part of the verbal phase and (ii) the availability of post-syntactic rebracketing, creating syntax-phonology mismatches. This is investigated on the case of Turkish and to some extent Japanese verbal morphology, by looking at phonological processes (i.e., stress assignment, pitch accent, vowel harmony) and syntactic processes (ie., coordination, movement).

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004674
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in proceedings of NELS 49
keywords: verbs, auxiliaries, syntax-phonology interface, phases, morphology, syntax, phonology
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Anttila, Borgeson & Magri (2019) – Equiprobable mappings in weighted constraint grammars

Equiprobable mappings in weighted constraint grammars
Arto Anttila, Scott Borgeson, Giorgio Magri
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004670
June 2019
We show that MaxEnt is so rich that it can distinguish between any two different mappings: there always exists a nonnegative weight vector which assigns them different MaxEnt probabilities. Stochastic HG instead does admit equiprobable mappings and we give a complete formal characterization of them. We compare these different predictions of the two frameworks on a test case of Finnish stress.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004670
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Published in: SIGMORPHON 2019: 16th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology (best paper)
keywords: maxent, stochastic harmonic grammar, finnish word stress, phonology
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Malčić (2019) – The Asymmetry and Antisymmetry of Syntax: A Relational Approach to Displacement

The Asymmetry and Antisymmetry of Syntax: A Relational Approach to Displacement
Justin Malčić
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004661
March 2019
In both syntax and phonology, it has long been observed that significant restrictions exist on displacement. One such restriction ensures that displacement leads to sequences of elements which are in some sense contiguous, formalised in syntax in the concept of Feature Geometry-based Relativised Minimality by Starke (2001) and Contiguous Agree by Nevins (2007), and in Autosegmental Phonology by the Line-Crossing Prohibition (originating in the Well-formedness Condition in Goldsmith 1976). I argue that effects of this type, which have been called Contiguity Effects, are best captured by taking displacement to involve total weak orders of elements in the sense of Order Theory. Building on work taking the LCA to hold throughout the derivation, I argue that precedence relations may be the basis of phrase structure, though without claiming that linearisation is necessary for LF (as for example suggested in Kayne 2013). I then develop this approach to show that Order Theory provides useful axioms for both phrase structure and displacement, and that the existence of displacement is expected given the use of Order Theory.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004661
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Published in: University of Cambridge BA dissertation
keywords: asymmetry, antisymmetry, autosegmentalism, displacement, minimality, c-command, order theory, syntax, phonology
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Caplan, Kodner & Yang (2019) – Miller’s Monkey Updated: Communicative Efficiency and the Statistics of Words in Natural Language

Miller’s Monkey Updated: Communicative Efficiency and the Statistics of Words in Natural Language
Spencer Caplan, Jordan Kodner, Charles Yang
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004660
June 2019
Is language designed for communicative and functional efficiency? G. K. Zipf famously argued that shorter words are more frequent because they are easier to use, thereby resulting in the statistical law that bears his name. Yet, G. A. Miller showed that even a monkey randomly typing at a keyboard, and intermittently striking the space bar, would generate “words” that follow the same statistical distribution. Recent quantitative analysis of human language lexicons, with special focus on the phonological and semantic ambiguities of words (Piantadosi, Tily, & Gibson, 2012), has revived Zipf’s functional hypothesis. In this study, we first report our replication effort, including the identification of a spurious result in that study which undercuts the communicative efficiency hypothesis. Second, an update to Miller’s thought experiment that incorporates the phonotactic structure of language shows that lexicons generated without recourse to functional considerations in fact exhibit the statistical properties of words attributed to communicative efficiency. Finally, the statistical distribution of the English words that emerged since 1900 shows that the attested process of lexicon formation is consistent with the updated monkey model but does not support the claim of communicative efficiency. We conclude by arguing for the need to go beyond correlational statistics and to seek direct evidence for the mechanisms that underly principles of language design. (Spencer Caplan and Jordan Kodner are co-first authors and listed alphabetically)

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004660
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted to Cognition
keywords: language, computational modeling, information theory, zipf’s law, semantics, phonology
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Cheshire (2019) – The Algorithmic Method for Translating MS408 (Voynich).

The Algorithmic Method for Translating MS408 (Voynich).
Gerard Cheshire
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004653
June 2019
This paper is to demonstrate the algorithmic method for translating MS408 (Voynich). It translates an entire page to demonstrate clearly that the translation concurs with the image and that the overall content has legible meaning. Thus, anyone else will be able to use this instruction for translating other pages from the manuscript.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004653
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Published in: Submitted.
keywords: algorithm, array priority queueing, proto-romance, ms408, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology
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Pearl (2019) – Poverty of the Stimulus Without Tears

Poverty of the Stimulus Without Tears
Lisa Pearl
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004646
June 2019
Poverty of the Stimulus (PovStim) has been at the heart of ferocious and tear-filled debates at the nexus of psychology, linguistics, and philosophy for decades. This review is intended as a guide for readers without a formal linguistics or philosophy background, focusing on what PovStim is and how it’s been interpreted, which is traditionally where the tears have come in. I discuss PovStim from the perspective of language development, highlighting how PovStim relates to expectations about learning and the data available to learn from. I describe common interpretations of what PovStim means when it occurs, and approaches for determining when PovStim is in fact occurring. I close with illustrative examples of PovStim in the domains of syntax, lexical semantics, and phonology.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004646
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Published in:
keywords: poverty of the stimulus, constrained generalization, quantitative approaches, nativists, linguistic nativists, non-linguistic nativists, empiricists, semantics, syntax, phonology
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Hao & Andersson (2019) – Unbounded Stress in Subregular Phonology

Unbounded Stress in Subregular Phonology
Sophie Hao, Samuel Andersson
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004642
June 2019
This paper situates culminative unbounded stress systems within the subregular hierarchy for functions. While Baek (2018) has argued that such systems can be uniformly understood as input tier-based strictly local constraints, we show here that default-to-opposite-side and default-to-same-side stress systems belong to distinct subregular classes when they are viewed as functions that assign primary stress to underlying forms. While the former system can be captured by input tier-based input strictly local functions, a subsequential function class that we define here, the latter system is not subsequential, though it is weakly deterministic according to McCollum et al.’s (2018) non-interaction criterion. Our results motivate the extension of recently proposed subregular language classes to subregular functions and argue in favor of McCollum et al.’s definition of weak determinism over that of Heinz and Lai (2013).

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004642
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of the 16th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology
keywords: computational, subregular, formal, stress, culminative, abkhaz, dybo, phonology
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Tanner, Sonderegger, Stuart-Smith & Consortium (2019) – Vowel duration and the voicing effect across English dialects

Vowel duration and the voicing effect across English dialects
James Tanner, Morgan Sonderegger, Jane Stuart-Smith, SPADE Data Consortium
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004640
June 2019
The ‘voicing effect’—the durational difference in vowels preceding voiced and voiceless consonants—is a well-documented phenomenon in English, where it plays a key role in the production and perception of the English final voicing contrast. Despite this supposed importance, little is known as to how robust this effect is in spontaneous connected speech, which is itself subject to a range of linguistic factors. Similarly, little attention has focused on variability in the voicing effect across dialects of English, bar analysis of specific varieties. Our findings show that the voicing of the following consonant exhibits a weaker-than-expected effect in spontaneous speech, interacting with manner, vowel height, speech rate, and word frequency. English dialects appear to demonstrate a continuum of potential voicing effect sizes, where varieties with dialect-specific phonological rules exhibit the most extreme values. The results suggest that the voicing effect in English is both substantially weaker than previously assumed in spontaneous connected speech, and subject to a wide range of dialectal variability.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004640
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Published in:
keywords: vowel duration, voicing effect, spontaneous speech, dialectal variability, phonology
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Gallagher, Gouskova & Rios (2018) – Phonotactic restrictions and morphology in Aymara

Phonotactic restrictions and morphology in Aymara
Gillian Gallagher, Maria Gouskova, Gladys Camacho Rios
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004635
November 2018
Nonlocal phonological interactions are often sensitive to morphological domains. Bolivian Aymara restricts the cooccurrence of plain, ejective, and aspirated stops within, but not across, morphemes. We document these restrictions in a morphologically parsed corpus of Aymara. We further present two experiments with native Aymara speakers. In the first experiment, speakers are asked to repeat nonce words that should be interpreted as monomorphemic. Speakers are more accurate at repeating nonce words that respect the nonlocal phonotactic restrictions than nonce words that violate them. In a second experiment, some nonce words are interpetable as morphologically complex, while others suggest a monomorphemic parse. Speakers show a sensitivity to this difference, and repeat the words more accurately when they can be interpreted as having a morpheme boundary between two consonants that tend to not cooccur inside a morpheme. Finally, we develop a computational model that induces nonlocal representations from the baseline grammar. The model posits projections when it notices that certain segments often cooccur when separated by a morpheme boundary. The model generates a full Maximum Entropy phonotactic grammar, which makes distinctions between attested and rare/unattested sequences in a way that aligns with the speaker behavior.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004635
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: 2019, Glossa 4(1), p. 29. http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.826
keywords: aymara, laryngeal co-occurrence restrictions, nonlocal phonological interactions, learnability, phonotactics, experimental phonology, computational modeling, inductive learning, corpus study, morphology, phonology
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Gouskova & Gallagher (2019) – Inducing nonlocal constraints from baseline phonotactics

Inducing nonlocal constraints from baseline phonotactics
Maria Gouskova, Gillian Gallagher
direct link: http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004634
February 2019
Nonlocal phonological patterns such as vowel harmony and long-distance consonant assimilation and dissimilation motivate representations that include only the interacting segments—projections. We present an implemented computational learner that induces projections based on phonotactic properties of a language that are observable without nonlocal representations. The learner builds on the base grammar induced by the MaxEnt Phonotactic Learner (Hayes and Wilson 2008). Our model searches this baseline grammar for constraints that suggest nonlocal interactions, capitalizing on the observations that (a) nonlocal interactions can be seen in trigrams if the language has simple syllable structure, and (b) nonlocally interacting segments define a natural class. We show that this model finds nonlocal restrictions on laryngeal consonants in corpora of Quechua and Aymara, and vowel co-occurrence restrictions in Shona.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004634
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Published in: Natural Language & Linguistic Theory (to appear). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11049-019-09446-x
keywords: nonlocal phonological interactions, inductive learning, learnability, computational phonology, quechua, aymara, shona, vowel harmony, consonant dissimilation, phonotactics, laryngeals, phonology
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