This book investigates the nature of the relationship between phonology and syntax and proposes a theory of Minimal Indirect Reference that solves many classic problems relating to the topic. Seidl shows that all variation across languages in phonological domain size is due to syntactic differences and a single domain parameter specific to phonology.
Evolutionary Phonology. Evolutionary Phonology seeks to derive typological generalizations from recurrent patterns of language change, themselves assumed to be rooted in perception, production, and acquisition. The goal is to eliminate UG by providing diachronic explanations for the cross-linguistic evidence that has been used to motivate it. (2) shows a schema of this program, where the arrows can be read as “explains” and/or “constrains”.
This commentary supports MacNeilage's dismissal of an evolutionary development from sign language to spoken language but presents evidence of a feature in sign language (echo phonology) that links iconic signs to abstract vocal syllables. These data provide an insight into possible mechanism by which iconic manual gestures accompanied by vocalisation could have provided a route for the evolution of spoken language with its characteristically arbitrary form–meaning relationship.
Phonemes are minimal segments within the spoken message whose presence is relevant for distinguishing one message from a different one with another meaning. Each phoneme underlies different phonetic realizations. What sets a phoneme from another is fuzzy cluster of the fuzzy features. Thus the study of phonemic structures is likely to have much to gain from a gradualistic approach. Through a gradualistic treatment synchronic phonology could tally with the diachronic study in a simpler way than is customary. In this (...) connection, an obstacle to be overcome is a widespread adherence to classical logic. (shrink)
In the 1920s and 1930s, some of the most talented linguists of the Soviet Union, among whom one can highlight N.F. Jakovlev and E.D. Polivanov, were involved in the process of “language building”. Their role in the success of this process is examined from the point of view of the phonological theory that they developed for creating scripts for the numerous peoples of the Soviet Union, Turkic and Caucasian above all. Jakovlev’s phonology, that Polivanov termed “social phonology”, was (...) very different from the one that N. Trubetskoj proposed some 10 years later. We will try to explain their ambitious script projects, which remain difficult to understand from the point of view of the modern phonology. (shrink)
En este artículo se presenta una descripción del sistema fonológico del mapudungun hablado por escolares pehuenches de la VIII Región del Bío-Bío. Este sistema fonológico se compara con el que se presenta en las descripciones fonemáticas existentes del mapudungun en general y de la variante pehuenche en particular. Los colaboradores corresponden a un grupo de 20 escolares de entre 12 y 15 años que cursan 7° y 8° año básico en escuelas rurales adscritas al Programa de Educación Intercultural Bilingüe (PEIB) (...) de la comuna de Alto Bío-Bío. Para la recolección del material fonético-fonológico, se elicitó una lista léxica de 64 ítemes y se solicitó a los niños relatar en mapudungun un cuento mapuche. El marco de referencia escogido para el análisis de los datos fue el método descriptivista norteamericano. Esta presentación finaliza con el resumen de los aspectos prominentes de la fonología descrita, una evaluación de los instrumentos utilizados y dos proyecciones a partir de la investigación realizada. This paper presents a description of the Mapudungun’s phonological system spoken by Pehuenche students from the 8th Bío-Bío region. This phonological system is compared to the one that is present in the phonemic descriptions that exist in Mapudungun in general and in the Pehuenche variant in particular. The participants correspond to a group of 20 seventh and eighth graders whose age ranges between 12 and 15, from rural schools that are part of the Programa de Educación Intercultural Bilingüe (PEIB) in Alto Bío-Bío. For the phonetic and phonological data, a 64 lexical item list was gathered and participants were requested to tell a short story in Mapudungun. The reference framework selected for the data analysis was the North American descriptive method. This paper ends up with tprominent aspects of the described phonology, an evaluation of the utilized instruments and two projections based on the conducted research. (shrink)
Pulvermüller's Hebbian model implies that an impairment in the word form system will affect phonological articulation and phonological comprehension, because there is only a single representation. Clinical evidence from patients with word-form deafness demonstrates a dissociation between input and output phonologies. These data suggest that auditory comprehension and articulatory production depend on discrete phonological representations localized in different cortical networks.
It has been well documented how language-specific cues may be used for word segmentation. Here, we investigate what role a language-independent phonological universal, the sonority sequencing principle (SSP), may also play. Participants were presented with an unsegmented speech stream with non-English word onsets that juxtaposed adherence to the SSP with transitional probabilities. Participants favored using the SSP in assessing word-hood, suggesting that the SSP represents a potentially powerful cue for word segmentation. To ensure the SSP influenced the segmentation process (i.e., (...) during learning), we presented two additional groups of participants with either (a) no exposure to the stimuli prior to testing or (b) the same stimuli with pauses marking word breaks. The SSP did not influence test performance in either case, suggesting that the SSP is important for word segmentation during the learning process itself. Moreover, the fact that SSP-independent segmentation of the stimulus occurred (in the latter control condition) suggests that universals are best understood as biases rather than immutable constraints on learning. (shrink)
Reading is a surprisingly difficult task that, at a minimum, requires recognizing a visual stimulus and linking it with its corresponding sound and meaning. Neurologically, this involves an anatomically distributed set of brain regions cooperating to solve the problem. It has been hypothesized that the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) contributes preferentially to phonological aspects of word processing and thus plays an important role in visual word recognition. Here, we used chronometric transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate the functional specificity and timing (...) of SMG involvement in reading visually presented words. Participants performed tasks designed to focus on either the phonological, semantic, or visual aspects of written words while double pulses of TMS (delivered 40 msec apart) were used to temporarily interfere with neural information processing in the left SMG at five different time windows. Stimulation at 80/120, 120/160 and 160/200 msec post-stimulus onset significantly slowed subjects’ reaction times in the phonological task. This inhibitory effect was specific to the phonological condition, with no effect of TMS in the semantic or visual tasks, consistent with claims that SMG contributes preferentially to phonological aspects of word processing. The fact that the effect began within 80–120 msec of the onset of the stimulus and continued for approximately 100 msec, indicates that phonological processing initiates early and is sustained over time. These findings are consistent with accounts of visual word recognition that posit parallel activation of orthographic, phonological and semantic information that interact over time to settle into a distributed, but stable, representation of a word. (shrink)
To acquire one’s native phonological system, language-specific phonological categories and relationships must be extracted from the input. The acquisition of the categories and relationships has each in its own right been the focus of intense research. However, it is remarkable that research on the acquisition of categories and the relations between them has proceeded, for the most part, independently of one another. We argue that this has led to the implicit view that phonological acquisition is a “two-stage” process: Phonetic categories (...) are first acquired and then subsequently mapped onto abstract phoneme categories. We present simulations that suggest two problems with this view: First, the learner might mistake the phoneme-level categories for phonetic-level categories and thus be unable to learn the relationships between phonetic-level categories; on the other hand, the learner might construct inaccurate phonetic-level representations that prevent it from finding regular relations among them. We suggest an alternative conception of the phonological acquisition problem that sidesteps this apparent inevitability and acquires phonemic categories in a single stage. Using acoustic data from Inuktitut, we show that this model reliably converges on a set of phoneme-level categories and phonetic-level relations among subcategories, without making use of a lexicon. (shrink)
The productive use of English past tense morphology in school-aged children (N= 74; 3 years, 8 months to 13 years, 5 months) is explored using on elicited production task. Errors represented 20% of the responses overall. Virtually all of the children demonstrated productivity with regular (e.g., good) and irregular patterns (zero-marking, e.g., sit + sit; vowel-change, e.g., ride -+ rid). Overall frequency of errors decreased with age, yet the tendency for certain types of irregularizations increased in the older groups. Analyses (...) across items indicated that all error types were predicted by combinations of item frequency, phonological chamcteristics of stems and past tense forms, and aspects of phonological past tense “neighborhoods.” Contrary to “hybrid” or dual-mechanism models incorporating a phonologically-insensitive default mechanism (e.g., Prasada & Pinker, 1993), these results suggest that children’s productivity with regular and irregular patterns is consistent with a phonologically-based constraint satisfaction system similar to that implemented in connectionist models (Daugherty & Seidenberg, 1992; Plunkett 81 Marchman, 1991,1993). (shrink)
The productive use of English past tense morphology in school-aged children (N = 74; 3 years, 8 months to 13 years, 5 months) is explored using an elicited production task. Errors represented 20% of the responses overall. Virtually all of the children demonstrated productivity with regular (e.g., good) and irregular patterns (zero-marking, e.g., sit → sit; vowel-change, e.g., ride → rid). Overall frequency of errors decreased with age, yet the tendency for certain types of irregularizations increased in the older groups. (...) Analyses across items indicated that all error types were predicted by combinations of item frequency, phonological characteristics of stems and past tense forms, and aspects of phonological past tense “neighborhoods”. Contrary to “hybrid” or dual-mechanism models incorporating a phonologically-insensitive default mechanism (e.g., Prasada & Pinker, 1993), these results suggest that children's productivity with regular and irregular patterns is consistent with a phonologically-based constraint satisfaction system similar to that implemented in connectionist models (Daugherty & Seidenberg, 1992; Plunkett & Marchman, 1991, 1993). (shrink)
A model of gestural sequencing in speech is proposed that aspires to producing biologically plausible fluent and efficient movement in generating an utterance. We have previously proposed a modification of the well-known task dynamic implementation of articulatory phonology such that any given articulatory movement can be associated with a quantification of effort (Simko & Cummins, 2010). To this we add a quantitative cost that decreases as speech gestures become more precise, and hence intelligible, and a third cost component that (...) places a premium on the duration of an utterance. Together, these three cost elements allow us to derive algorithmically optimal sequences of gestures and dynamical parameters for generating articulator movement. We show that the optimized movement displays many timing characteristics that are representative of real speech movement, capturing subtle details of relative timing between gestures. Optimal movement sequences also display invariances in timing that suggest syllable-level coordination for CV sequences. We explore the behavior of the model as prosodic context is manipulated in two dimensions: clarity of articulation and speech rate. Smooth, fluid, and efficient movements result. (shrink)
A narrow focus on the jaw (or on motor generators) does not account for individual and language-specific differences in babbling and early speech. Furthermore, data from Yoshinaga-Itano's laboratory support earlier findings that show glottal rather than oral stops in deaf infants' babbling: audition is crucial for developing normal syllables.
Frost's claim that universal models of reading require linguistically diverse data is relevant and justified. We support it with evidence demonstrating the extent of the bias towards some Indo-European languages and alphabetic scripts in scientific literature. However, some of his examples are incorrect, and he neglects the complex interaction of writing system and language structure with history and cultural environment.
An important distinction between phonology and syntax has been overlooked. All phonological patterns belong to the regular region of the Chomsky Hierarchy, but not all syntactic patterns do. We argue that the hypothesis that humans employ distinct learning mechanisms for phonology and syntax currently offers the best explanation for this difference.
Event-related potential (ERP) studies of word recognition have provided fundamental insights into the time-course and stages of visual and auditory word form processing in reading. Here, we used ERPs to track the time-course of phonological processing in dyslexic adults and matched controls. Participants engaged in semantic judgments of visually presented high-cloze probability sentences ending either with (a) their best completion word, (b) a homophone of the best completion, (c) a pseudohomophone of the best completion, or (d) an unrelated word, to (...) examine the interplay of phonological and orthographic processing in reading and the stage(s) of processing affected in developmental dyslexia. Early ERP peaks (N1, P2, N2) were modulated in amplitude similarly in the two groups of participants. However, dyslexic readers failed to show the P3a modulation seen in control participants for unexpected homophones and pseudohomophones (i.e., sentence completions that are acceptable phonologically but are misspelt). Furthermore, P3a amplitudes significantly correlated with reaction times in each experimental condition. Our results showed no sign of a deficit in accessing phonological representations during reading, since sentence primes yielded phonological priming effects that did not differ between participant groups in the early phases of processing. On the other hand, we report new evidence for a deficient attentional engagement with orthographically unexpected but phonologically expected words in dyslexia, irrespective of task focus on orthography or phonology. In our view, this result is consistent with deficiency in reading occurring from the point at which attention is oriented to phonological analysis, which may underlie broader difficulties in sublexical decoding. (shrink)
Traditional flat-structured bigram and trigram models of phonotactics are useful because they capture a large number of facts about phonological processes. Additionally, these models predict that local interactions should be easier to learn than long-distance ones because long-distance dependencies are difficult to capture with these models. Long-distance phonotactic patterns have been observed by linguists in many languages, who have proposed different kinds of models, including feature-based bigram and trigram models, as well as precedence models. Contrary to flat-structured bigram and trigram (...) models, these alternatives capture unbounded dependencies because at an abstract level of representation, the relevant elements are locally dependent, even if they are not adjacent at the observable level. Using an artificial grammar learning paradigm, we provide additional support for these alternative models of phonotactics. Participants in two experiments were exposed to a long-distance consonant-harmony pattern in which the first consonant of a five-syllable word was [s] or [∫] (“sh”) and triggered a suffix that was either [-su] or [-∫u] depending on the sibilant quality of this first consonant. Participants learned this pattern, despite the large distance between the trigger and the target, suggesting that when participants learn long-distance phonological patterns, that pattern is learned without specific reference to distance. (shrink)
One of the most popular and influential theories of word processing, dual-route theory, proposes that there are two functionally independent means of processing words, one involving access to lexical knowledge and the other involving nonlexical grapheme-to-phoneme conversion. Three topics germane to this theory are the processing of nonwords, spelling regularity effects, and the manner in which reading may be impaired following selective damage to either route. This paper evaluates evidence on these topics, and in each case the claims of the (...) theory for an independent nonlexical processing route are called into question. This conclusion is further supported by a discussion of the linguistic constraints that limit any nonlexical grapheme—phoneme conversion process. Some alternative approaches to visual word processing, which share the assumption that lexical knowledge can guide the assembly of phonological information, are discussed. It is argued that these approaches should direct future research. (shrink)
Previous studies have investigated orthographic-to-phonological mapping during reading by comparing brain activation for (1) reading words to object naming, or (2) reading pseudowords (e.g. “phume”) to words (e.g. “plume”). Here we combined both approaches to provide new insights into the underlying neural mechanisms. In fMRI data from 25 healthy adult readers, we first identified activation that was greater for reading words and pseudowords relative to picture and color naming. The most significant effect was observed in the left putamen, extending to (...) both anterior and posterior borders. Second, consistent with previous studies, we show that both the anterior and posterior putamen are involved in articulating speech with greater activation during our overt speech production tasks (reading, repetition, object naming and color naming) than silent one-back-matching on the same stimuli. Third, we compared putamen activation for words versus pseudowords during overt reading and auditory repetition. This revealed that the anterior putamen was most activated by reading pseudowords, whereas the posterior putamen was most activated by words irrespective of whether the task was reading words or auditory word repetition. The pseudoword effect in the anterior putamen is consistent with prior studies that associated this region with the initiation of novel sequences of movements. In contrast, the heightened word response in the posterior putamen is consistent with other studies that associated this region with “memory guided movement”. Our results illustrate how the functional dissociation between the anterior and posterior putamen supports sublexical and lexical processing during reading. (shrink)