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This article questions the prevalent account of North Germanic tonogenesis, which proposes that at the outset, Accent 2 was characterized by a double-peaked melody close to the one found in central Swedish today (Riad 1998, Kingston 2011). The spreading patterns observed in the data analyzed here are difficult to reconcile with this hypothesis. My analysis instead offers support in favor of the alternative hypothesis that the phonetic roots of the accentual contrast are to be found in a difference in timing between single peaks, specifically, peak delay in plurisyllabic domains, but not in mono-syllables due to lack of space. The variation observed in the single peak Dalarna varieties today, from robust timing differences in the south to absence or only partial implementation of the tonal contrast in the north, strongly suggests that the accentual contrast has been spreading northwards through incremental peak delay in Accent 2 words. I argue that this situation mirrors the initial stages in the development that, through additional peak delay, eventually resulted in a double-peaked Accent 2 melody in central Scandinavia. At the same time, the older single peak patterns are still retained in Dalarna and scattered around the geographical margins of Norway and Sweden.*
To investigate cross-linguistic interactions in bimodal bilingual production, behavioural and electrophysiological measures (ERPs) were recorded from 24 deaf bimodal bilinguals while naming pictures in Catalan Sign Language (LSC). Two tasks were employed, a picture-word interference and a picture-picture interference task. Cross-linguistic effects were explored via distractors that were either semantically related to the target picture, to the phonology/orthography of the Spanish name of the target picture, or were unrelated. No semantic effects were observed in sign latencies, but ERPs differed between semantically related and unrelated distractors. For the form-related manipulation, a facilitation effect was observed both behaviourally and at the ERP level. Importantly, these effects were not influenced by the type of distractor (word/picture) presented providing the first piece of evidence that deaf bimodal bilinguals are sensitive to oral language in sign production. Implications for models of cross-linguistic interactions in bimodal bilinguals are discussed.
This chapter provides an introductory overview of the phonological systems used in the languages of mainland Southeast Asia. The chapter begins with an overview of the various systems of consonants and vowels that are found, and the phonotactic principles by which those segments are combined to form syllables. The closely-related phenomena of register and tone are then introduced and defined, followed by an outline of the processes of tonogenesis, by which a language can develop a tone system. The chapter closes with a discussion of further aspects of the area’s sound systems, including tone sandhi, intonation, the prosodic hierarchy and criteria for different notions of ‘word’.
The chapter presents the theory of interactive alignment and primarily focuses on the alignment of linguistic representations underlying the utterances that each speaker contributes to the dialogue. Such representations enable interlocutors to formulate phrases, words, or gestures that move the dialogue forward. We also consider two dimensions of alignment (focal vs. global, and linguistic vs. dialogue model) and how alignment relates to reference and the role of dialogue routines in support of alignment.
Most linguists regard writing as an uninteresting and somewhat artificial add-on to spoken language. However, the availability of the written form influences language structure in profound ways at both the individual level (mental grammar) and the social level (language as a conventional system). The lexical and grammatical differences between spoken and written language are partly attributable to different contexts of use and partly to the fact that the written form provides a ‘processing crutch’ which enables speakers to produce more complex structures than they would otherwise be able to produce; structures which are initially learned with the aid of writing may then find their way into the speech of highly literate speakers. In the long run, the cumulative effects of these individual changes lead to changes at the level of the community language. Thus, languages with a long tradition of literacy, such as English, differ in substantial ways from oral languages.
Does knowledge of language transfer spontaneously across language modalities? For example, do English speakers, who have had no command of a sign language, spontaneously project grammatical constraints from English to linguistic signs? Here, we address this question by examining the constraints on doubling. We first demonstrate that doubling (e.g. panana; generally: ABB) is amenable to two conflicting parses (identity vs. reduplication), depending on the level of analysis (phonology vs. morphology). We next show that speakers with no command of a sign language spontaneously project these two parses to novel ABB signs in American Sign Language. Moreover, the chosen parse (for signs) is constrained by the morphology of spoken language. Hebrew speakers can project the morphological parse when doubling indicates diminution, but English speakers only do so when doubling indicates plurality, in line with the distinct morphological properties of their spoken languages. These observations suggest that doubling in speech and signs is constrained by a common set of linguistic principles that are algebraic, amodal and abstract.
Previous studies have shown that visual information is a crucial input in early language learning. In the present study we examine what type of visual input helps preschoolers in acquiring nonnative phonological contrasts. Catalan/Spanish-speaking children (4–5 years, N = 47) participated in a task to assess their phonological discrimination abilities before and after a training. Three training conditions were presented: one with clear oral/visual speech information, one with an ostensive object-sound mapping, and one with a rich social interaction. Children’s looking patterns were tracked to examine their focus of interest while being trained. Results revealed that preschoolers’ discrimination abilities increase in all trained conditions, but the condition where the speaker created an ostensive object–sound mapping led to higher long-term gains (especially for younger children). Eye-tracking results further showed that children looked to the object of reference while being exposed to the novel phonological input, which may explain the higher learning gains in this condition. Our results indicate that preschoolers’ learning of nonnative phonological contrasts is particularly boosted when the speech input is accompanied by an object of reference that is signaled ostensively and contingently in the visual space, compared to when the visual space only contains clear oral/visual speech information or social interactivity cues.
This study addresses a controversial aspect of the change traditionally known as Middle English Open Syllable Lengthening (MEOSL): the variable results of lengthening in disyllabic (C)V.CVC stems, the heaven–haven conundrum. It presents a full philological survey of the recoverable monomorphemic input items and their reflexes in Present-day English (PDE). A re-examination of the empirical data reveals a previously unnoticed correlation between lengthening and the sonority of the medial consonant in forms such as paper, rocket, gannet and baron, as well as interplay between that consonant and the σ2 coda. The alignment of disyllabic stems with a medial alveolar stop and a sonorant weak syllable coda (Latin, better, otter) with (C)V.RVR stems (baron, felon, moral) opens up a new perspective on the reconstruction of tapping in English. The results of lengthening in disyllabic forms, including those previously thought of as ‘exceptions’ to the change, are modeled in Classical OT and Maxent OT, prompting an account which reframes MEOSL as a stem-level compensatory process (MECL) for all inputs. We show that OT grammars with conventional constraints can correctly predict variation in the (C)V.TəR stems and categorical lengthening or non-lengthening in other disyllabic stems. Broadening the phonological factors beyond the open-syllable condition for potential stressed σ1 inputs in (C)V.CV(C) stems allows us to apply the same constraints to stems whose input structure does not involve an open syllable and to propose a uniform account of stressed vowel quantity in all late Middle English mono- and di-syllabic stems.
During the first year of life, human infants undergo an extraordinary process of vocal learning, unmatched by other primates. This lays a key foundation for meaningful speech production. The first sections of this chapter describe major milestones and other features of the development of prelinguistic and early speech sounds, including the acquisition of new sound types and of conversational turn-taking skills. The chapter then discusses what we know about the roles of exploratory play, social input, and neural systems in human vocal learning. A section on computational modeling reviews theoretical work that informs our understanding of how these mechanisms interact. Effects of sociocultural and clinical differences on infant vocal development are then discussed. The final section of the chapter discusses policy perspectives on research and interventions in this domain.
For centuries philosophers and scientists have puzzled over the meaning of words and the intricacies of grammar. How did the human species develop such a complex system that allowed us to work collaboratively and to share experiences – be it about the past or future? How did the species derive a system that allowed for optimal representation of the world in a way that also optimized quick communication among members of the species? Our language can mend conflicts, share grand ideas, and allow us to express and grow our everyday thoughts.
The spelling conventions for dental fricatives in Anglic languages (Scots and English) have a rich and complex history. However, the various – often competing – graphemic representations (<þ>, <ð>, <y> and <th>, among others) eventually settled on one digraph, <th>, for all contemporary varieties, irrespective of the phonemic distinction between /ð/ and /θ/. This single representation is odd among the languages’ fricatives, which tend to use contrasting graphemes (cf. <f> vs <v> and <s> vs <z>) to represent contrastive voicing, a sound pattern that emerged nearly a millennium ago. Close examinations of the scribal practices for English in the late medieval period, however, have shown that northern texts had begun to develop precisely this type of distinction for dental fricatives as well. Here /ð/ was predominantly represented by <y> and /θ/ by <th> (Jordan 1925; Benskin 1982). In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, this ‘Northern System’ collapsed, due to the northward spread of a London-based convention using exclusively <th> (Stenroos 2004). This article uses a rich body of corpus evidence for fifteenth-century Scots to show that, north of the North, the phonemic distinction was more clearly mirrored by spelling conventions than in any contemporary variety of English. Indeed, our data for Older Scots local documents (1375–1500) show a pattern where <y> progressively spreads into voiced contexts, while <th> recedes into voiceless ones. This system is traced back to the Old English positional preferences for <þ> and <ð> via subsequent changes in phonology, graphemic repertoire and letter shapes. An independent medieval Scots spelling norm is seen to emerge as part of a developing, proto-standard orthographic system, only to be cut short in the sixteenth century by top-down anglicisation processes.
Co-occurrence restrictions on Biblical Hebrew root consonants have received thorough treatment in the specialized literature. However, combinations involving glides on the one hand, and nominal roots on the other, have received very little attention. The aim of this paper is to argue for an incompatibility between medial consonants and final glides in defective nouns: a final w cannot generally follow a homorganic medial root consonant, viz. labial p, b, m and velar k, g, q. The III-w roots are rare: they came about as a result of a well-documented historical process and are found almost only in nominal roots. Previous investigations have overlooked this incompatibility owing to the incomplete scope of the studies.
Vowel-consonant metathesis is observed in a variety of contexts throughout the Nivaĉle (Mataguayan) grammar. It occurs in both verbal and nominal domains, characteristically resulting from the affixation of a consonant-initial suffix to a consonant-final stem. This paper provides an optimality theoretic account for vowel-consonant metathesis and vowel epenthesis in Nivaĉle. It is demonstrated that metathesis responds to phonological requirements; specifically, it serves to avoid marked structures in the language: complex codas, derived complex onsets, and bad syllable contacts. The prosodic analysis of syllable structure constraints aims to provide broad empirical coverage, as well as a coherent and integrated theoretical interpretation.
This study examined a potential lexicality advantage in young children's early speech production: do children produce sound sequences less accurately in nonwords than real words? Children aged 3;3-4;4 completed two tasks: a real word repetition task and a corresponding nonword repetition task. Each of the 23 real words had a paired consonant-vowel sequence in the nonword in word-initial position (e.g., ‘su’ in [ˈsutkes] ‘suitcase’ and [ˈsudrɑs]). The word-initial consonant-vowel sequences were kept constant between the paired words. Previous work on this topic compared different sequences of paired sounds, making it hard to determine if those results were due to a lexical or phonetic effect. Our results show that children reliably produced consonant-vowel sequences in real words more accurately than nonwords. The effect was most pronounced in children with smaller receptive vocabularies. Together, these results reinforce theories arguing for interactions between vocabulary size and phonology in language development.
A long /aː/ in pre-fricative and pre-nasal contexts in words such as fast, answer or after is one of the most distinctive phonological features of British RP and, to a certain extent, of Southern Hemisphere varieties of English (Trudgill 2010). The lengthening of /a/ has been particularly gaining ground from the eighteenth century onwards (Beal 1999; Jones 2006). The pronouncing dictionaries published between the eighteenth century and the present day allow us to trace its lexical diffusion (Labov 1994) across the whole lexicon. Drawing on the statistics of the ARCHER corpus, the lexical sets of the ECEP database, the full electronic edition of Walker's dictionary (1791), Wells’ Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (2008) and the Macquarie Dictionary (2015), this article examines the role played by the phonetic environment, word frequency, phonetic analogy and isolated lead words like draught or master in the spread of the lengthening of /a/. The results show that word frequency per se has no clear effect on /a/ lengthening in either pre-fricative or pre-nasal environments in eighteenth-century sources. The article also offers a possible relative chronology of the spread of that phenomenon to each phonetic environment within the bath set.
We explore the implications of a particular approach to learning for an architectural question in phonology. The learning approach follows the principle of Minimum Description Length (MDL), which has recently been used for learning in both constraint-based and rule-based phonology. The architectural question on which we focus is whether the grammar allows language-specific statements to be made at the level of the lexicon, as was assumed in early generative phonology, or whether such statements are prohibited, as is commonly assumed within more recent work. We show that under MDL, the architectural question has real empirical implications: across a range of seemingly natural representational schemes, an ability to make language-specific statements about the lexicon is needed to ensure the learnability of an important aspect of phonological knowledge.
The usual development of OE [ɑld] in words such as old in Scots is to auld, reflecting the development of this sequence in northern dialects more generally. But in some Scots dialects other pronunciations of these words, reminiscent of dialects of English south of the Ribble–Humber Line, are found. These forms, of the type owld, are found across Lowland Scotland, with particular concentrations in the far north and southwest. Origins in Irish English and English in England have been suggested for this feature of Scots but these hypotheses have not been explored. Aitken & Macafee (2002: 61–2) instead argue for an endogenous origin of both auld and owld, but this proposed double endogenous development of OE [ɑld] is problematic in a number of ways. In this article, I examine the history of these developments in Scots in comparison to their development in dialects of English in England and Ireland. The lack of evidence for the owld development in Older Scots suggests that these forms are of relatively recent origin. Crucially, the Eighteenth-Century English Phonology Database (ECEP) reveals that the owld pronunciations were in fact a feature of early forms of Standard English. Furthermore, several characteristic features of Irish English have spread into southwest Scotland, and the distribution of owld forms in the area fits this pattern. Thus Scots forms such as owld are not the result of endogenous development, but have their origin in English, in the case of southwest Scotland at least in part from Irish English, and elsewhere in Scotland from early forms of Standard English. These owld forms have been ‘localised’ and reinterpreted as ‘Scots’, alongside or replacing original auld. The analysis of the origins of this feature highlights not only the role of contact with varieties of English in the development of Scots, but also the importance of sources such as the ECEP database for understanding the historical phonology of Scots and English.
The foot–strut vowel split, which has its origins in 17th century English, is notable for its absence from the speech of Northerners in England, where stood–stud remain homophones – both are pronounced with the same vowel /ʊ/. The present study analyses the speech of 122 speakers from Manchester in the North West of England. Although the vast majority of speakers exhibit no distinction between the foot and strut lexical sets in minimal-pair production and judgement tests, vowel height is correlated with socio-economic status: the higher the social class, the lower the strut vowel. Surprisingly, statistical models indicate that vowel class is a significant predictor of foot–strut in Manchester. This means that, for a speech community without the split, there remains an effect in the expected direction: strut vowels are lower than foot vowels in the vowel space. We suggest that co-articulatory effects of surrounding consonants explain this instrumental difference, as they have significant lowering/heightening effects on the acoustics but are not fully captured by our statistical model. We argue that the perplexing nature of the historical split can be partially accounted for in this data, as the frequency of co-occurring phonetic environments is notably different in foot than in strut, resulting in cumulative effects of co-articulation. We also present evidence of age grading which suggests that middle class speakers may develop a phonetic distinction as they age.
This article investigates prototypically attributive versus predicative adjectives in English in terms of the phonological properties that have been associated especially with nouns versus verbs in a substantial body of psycholinguistic research (e.g. Kelly 1992) – often ignored in theoretical linguistic work on word classes. Inspired by Berg's (2000, 2009) ‘cross-level harmony constraint’, the hypothesis I test is that prototypically attributive adjectives not only align more with nouns than with verbs syntactically, semantically and pragmatically, but also phonologically – and likewise for prototypically predicative adjectives and verbs. I analyse the phonological structure of frequent adjectives from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), and show that the data do indeed support the hypothesis. Berg's ‘cross-level harmony constraint’ may thus apply not only to the entire word classes noun, verb and adjective, but also to these two adjectival subclasses. I discuss several theoretical issues that emerge. The facts are most readily accommodated in a usage-based model, such as Radical Construction Grammar (Croft 2001), where these adjectives are seen as forming two distinct but overlapping classes. Drawing also on recent research by Boyd & Goldberg (2011) and Hao (2015), I explore the possible nature and emergence of these classes in some detail.
In this accessible survey, two leading specialists introduce a broad range of topics in Korean linguistics, including the general historical background of the language, its phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics, and the interfaces between those areas. Expertly written and drawing on the authors' many years of experience, the book answers questions such as what languages is Korean related to, what is unique about the Korean sound system, and how are 'subject' and 'topic' distinguished in Korean. It guides the student through the major issues in Korean linguistics in a theory-neutral way, at the same time discussing the latest research on the language, and exploring its unique writing system, which has long been a topic of interest to linguists and to those interested in writing systems in general. It is the ideal introduction for students both at the beginning of their studies, and at a more advanced level.