Language and Mind, Week 9
Language and Mind, Week 9 LING 275
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carole Boulware on Wednesday July 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to LING 275 at University of Southern California taught by Elsi Miia Kaiser, Rachel Walker in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Language and Mind in Linguistics at University of Southern California.
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Date Created: 07/20/16
Language and Mind, Ling 275g Spring 2016, Kaiser/Walker Overview of lecture on April 5: Speech Production Targets Overview • Continue with topic of how speakers tune perception to the speech sounds that compose their language’s phoneme categories. • Extend to implications for speech production. Categorical Perception • As we have been discussing in recent classes, categorical perception helps to overcome the lack of invariance problem. • In this class we focus on two important notions in categorical perception: Targets and Boundaries. Targets and Boundaries: VOT example • Perceiving /p/ in aspirated contehts vs. /b/. • Perceptual boundary for [b] vs. [p ] in English falls at about 30 ms VOT. • But the actual production of [p ] is generally centered at 60 ms – the articulatory target for [p ] in English. • That is, speakers aim to produce a 60 ms VOT (target) for [p ] but they actually produce a range of VOTs. • Categorical perception cleans up the near misses within the space of a set boundary. • In English, as long as the VOT is over the boundary of about 30 ms, the listener will perceive a /p/ instead of a /b/. • The boundary-delimited range of variation for a phoneme is its acoustic space. The acoustic space for /p/ when it is aspirated in English is about 30–60+ ms. • Categorical perception helps to overcome variation within the acoustic space of a target. Differences across Languages • Category boundaries can vary across languages • Listening: VOT distinctions in English versus Spanish • English: The boundary between /b/ and /p/ is 30 ms VOT. • Spanish: The boundary between /b/ and /p/ is around 0 ms VOT. • Listening: VOT distinctions in Thai, which has a three-way phonemic distinction in VOT for its stops: o Voiced stops o Voiceless unaspirated stops o Voiceless aspirated stops (VOT measured at about 90 ms) 1 Tuning Speech Perception • How do speakers learn boundaries for phonemes of their language? • Once targets are fixed, the boundary for variance is set between them, for example, at the halfway point for VOT in English. • Speakers acquire o targets for the way that a given phoneme is produced o boundaries that delimit the variance in its production • Spanish versus English: o Spanish has lower target VOTs for /p/ and /b/ than English. Question: If someone were investigating the vowel sounds of an undocumented language, is there anything they could expect to find? Relevant Terminology: Phoneme inventory: The set of phonemes in a language. Vowel Phoneme Inventories across Languages • Comparison of vowel phoneme inventories for Margi (two vowels), Tausug (three vowels), Spanish (five vowels), Italian (seven vowels), and Bavarian (13 vowels) (see today’s handout). • Observation: Vowel phonemes in languages of the world are distributed in height and backness. • Listening: German vowel sounds. • Why are vowels distributed? o Articulatory dispersion in vowels correlates with acoustic dispersion. o Helps to maximize perceptibility – speech sounds are kept acoustically distinct to make it easier for listeners to distinguish them. o Favors a three-vowel inventory that has vowels /i, a, u/ (as in Tausug) rather than vowels /u, ʊ, o/ (which is not attested in any known natural human language). • But why not always maximal dispersion? o Why does Margi, with just two vowels, have central vowels [ɨ, a] rather than vowels at extreme corners of the vowel space, such as [i, ɒ]? o Helps to improve ease of articulation, which favors less peripheral articulations in vowels (more displaced from [ə] is harder). o The two vowels in Margi can be less peripheral while still being sufficiently different to easily be distinguished. Summary: Establishing Targets and Boundaries for Vowels • Discover size of vowel phoneme inventory through minimal pairs. • Disperse vowels: Identify vowel targets; balance maximization of perceptibility and minimization of articulatory effort. • Define boundaries so that ranges for targets occupy roughly equal areas in vowel space. 2 • Note that vowel sounds that lie outside the category boundaries for the vowel phonemes of a particular language might not be recognized as meaningful or relevant vowel sounds for speakers of that language. Implications for infant-directed speech • Study by Burnham et al. (2002) (see one-page article on Blackboard) • Vowels, /i/, /a/, /u/ are significantly more hyperarticulated by mothers in infant-directed speech than in adult-directed speech or pet-directed speech. • Might help infants in acquiring the phonemes of their language. In addition to these lecture notes, you should also make use of the handouts that were distributed in today’s class, which are available on Blackboard. Some important terms/concepts Target/articulatory target Boundary Acoustic space Articulatory dispersion, acoustic dispersion Phoneme inventory Maximizing perceptibility Ease of articulation Hyperarticulation in infant-directed speech • You should know what the lack of invariance problem is and how categories function in perception to help overcome it (covered in previous lectures). • You should know what is meant by targets and boundaries for speech sounds. You should be able to identify how maximizing perceptibility and minimizing articulatory effort influence the dispersion of vowels in language, for instance, using Tausug and Margi as examples. • You should understand how targets and boundaries can differ across languages, for example, English versus Spanish VOT for stops. • You should understand why a language with three vowels, like Tausug, has vowels /i, a, u/ and not /u, ʊ, o/. • You should understand what hyperarticulated vowels are. 3
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