Morley (2019) – Sound Structure and Sound Change: A modeling approach

Sound Structure and Sound Change: A modeling approach
Rebecca Morley
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September 2019
Research in linguistics, as in most other scientific domains, is usually approached in a modular way – narrowing the domain of inquiry in order to allow for increased depth of study. This is necessary and productive for a topic as wide-ranging and complex as human language. However, precisely because language is a complex system, tied to perception, learning, memory, and social organization, the assumption of modularity can also be an obstacle to understanding language at a deeper level. The methodological focus of this work is on computational modeling, highlighting two aspects of modeling work that receive relatively little attention: the formal mapping from model to theory, and the scalability of demonstration models. A series of implemented models of sound change are analyzed in this way. As theoretical inconsistencies are discovered, possible solutions are proposed, incrementally constructing a set of sufficient properties for a working model. Because internal theoretical consistency is enforced, this model corresponds to an explanatorily adequate theory. And because explicit links between modules are required, this is a theory, not only of sound change, but of many aspects of phonological competence.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004842
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Language Sciences Press (forthcoming)
keywords: computational modeling; exemplars; diachrony; articulatory phonology; speech perception, phonology