Presentation on theme: "James Myers National Chung Cheng University "— Presentation transcript:
1Frequency effects in lenition and the challenge of lexicalized markedness James MyersNational Chung Cheng UniversityWorkshop on Variation, Gradience and Frequency in PhonologyStanford University, July 2007
2Acknowledgments Li Yingshing National Science Council (Taiwan) For coauthoring the phonetic studyNational Science Council (Taiwan)For paying the billsPeople like you
3The argument Lenition is markedness reduction in the raw Yet lenition is lexicalizedAttempts to escape this conclusion don’t workLexicalized markedness cannot be formalized in grammar insightfully*It’s essentially a peripheral processing issueTherefore, markedness isn’t “inside” grammarHale & Reiss (2000), Boersma (2005)*Rhetorical convenience doesn’t count as insight.
4Frequency effects in lenition The more common a word or phrase, the more phonetically reduced it is in productionStudied by (among many others):Aylett & Turk (2004), Berkenfield (2001), Bybee (2000ab, 2002), Cacoullos & Ferreira (2000), Cohn et al. (2005), Fidelholtz (1975), Hammond (1999, 2004), Hay (2000), Hooper (1976), Johnson (1983), Jurafsky et al. (2001, 2002), Kawamoto et al. (1999), Lavoie (2002), Li (2005), Munson & Solomon (2004), Myers & Guy (1997), Myers (1999), Myers & Li (2005), Patterson & Connie (2001), Phillips (1984, 1999), Pierrehumbert (2001), Pluymaekers et al. (2005), Tseng (1999), van Bergem (1995), van Son et al. (2004), Wright (1979)
5Examples English vowel reduction (Hooper 1976) Syllable contraction in Southern Min (Li 2005)
6What causes this phenomenon? Speaker-oriented explanationsArticulatory targets become more automatized through use (e.g. Bybee 2001, Pierrehumbert 2001, 2002)Listener-oriented explanationsFrequent words are more predictable, so speakers can afford to be less clear (e.g. Jurafsky et al. 2001)What will resolve this crucial debate?Phonetic and psycholinguistic experimentationTheoretical phonology can only play catch-up
7Why phonologists worry anyway Phonetics is sensitive to lexical frequencySo phonetics isn’t really “post-lexical”?Gradient reduction is word-specificSo lexical representations aren’t categorical?Frequency-reduction correlation is universalSo lexical effects aren’t always idiosyncratic?Yet lenition begets “real” phonologyDeletion, stress shift, assimilation...
8Escape hatch #1: It’s not lexical? Maybe it’s just an indirect effectFrequent words are also more predictable in discourse context (e.g. Jurafsky et al. 2001)Frequency eases lexical access, facilitating articulatory fluency (e.g. Pluymaekers et al. 2005)How to test thisFactor out contextual predictability, ease of access, speaking rateDoes frequency still affect lenition?
9Escape hatch #2: It’s not gradient? Maybe it’s just stochastic “ordinary” phonologyMaybe frequency just increases the probability of choosing lenited over full allomorphs, but both are categorical (cf. Pluymaekers et al. 2005)Variant: Probability of choosing prosodic frameHow to test thisUse a continuous dependent measure (not allomorph probability, as in many studies)Control prosodic structure
10Case study: Southern Min syllable contraction Phonologically regular“Edge-in” preservation of segmentsTonal contours are mergedOutput often respects sonority profileVowels of higher sonority are often favoredHas been formalized with autosegmental notation and/or Optimality TheoryChung (1996, 1997), Hsiao (1999, 2002), Hsu (2003)
11Measuring syllable contraction Twenty native speakers of Southern MinShadowing task120 items from spoken Southern Min corpus (Myers & Tsay 2003)Hear uncontracted forms, must repeat back naturally (not told explicitly to contract)Isolated items in random order (no contextual predictablity)Dependent measure of contractionTrough depthMyers & Li (submitted)
12Trough depthMaximum depth of amplitude contour (syllable boundary detection algorithm of Mermelstein 1975)Analysis using Praat (Boersma & Weenink 2007)
13Predicting syllable contraction Lexical frequency from corpus (log-normed)Phonetic confoundsSegment typesDurationMaximum intensityHigher-level confoundsReaction time (ease of lexical access)Lexical category (whether or not word/phrase contains a function morpheme)Tests for the influence of prosodic structure
17But is it gradient…? accidental run of obstruent onsets… frequency estimates less reliable down here…?>
18More evidence for gradience Categorical allomorphs predict bimodalityOnly two targets: Shallow vs. deep troughsSo no frequency effect within trough categoriesWrong: Frequency affects all trough depthsIncreasing frequency always means shallower troughs, even among already shallow troughs
19Still more evidence... ... for gradience, and for lexical status Twenty new native speakers of S. MinFamiliarity judgment taskHear artificially contracted formsJudge their familiarity (magnitude estimation)Do familiarity and trough depth correlate?If so, acoustic detail is stored in perceptual lexicon
21Production & perception correlate (correlation remains even if corpus frequency is taken into account)(and vice versa)<>
22Maybe a listener-oriented effect? Twenty more native speakers of S. MinFamiliarity judgment taskHear uncontracted forms from first experimentJudge their familiarity (magnitude estimation)Do familiarity and trough depth correlate?If so, speakers are contracting to just the degree that listeners can compensate for via their familiarity with the intended categorical targets
23Correlation is just so-so (correlation disappears when corpus frequency is taken into account)<
24The story so far Lenition is lexical Lenition is phonetically gradient Frequency affects it directlyListeners store copies of lenited formsLenition is phonetically gradientNot merely selection of categorical allomorphsYet frequency effects in lenition aren’t “deep”Occur with shadowing (cf. Pluymaekers et al. 2005)Not reducible to lexical access effectsDon’t respect phonological units (syllables)Speakers don’t care about listeners...?
26Learning these rankings E.g. faith constraints for high-frequency items get violated more often, hence get demotedXLowFreqX YX XHighFreqrarely violates Faithoften violates FaithBoersma (2006) applies this to common vs. rarer gestures (e.g. Cor vs. Lab), but it also works for word frequency effects in gradient lenition
27Problem: Lenition isn’t Faith alone XLowFreqX YX XHighFreqIn lenition, markedness is defined articulatorilyWhy not FaithLowFreq >> *[+rd,-bk] >> FaithHighFreq?Lenition is phonetically gradientWhy can’t X & Y be categorical?One-mechanism-fits-all approach misses pointLenition is an articulatory phenomenon, and so are its frequency effects
28Problem: Kids work backwards Higher-frequency words are pronounced more adult-like (Tyler & Edwards 1993; Gierut et al. 1999)Gierut et al. (1999) analyze this with interface faith constraints ranked the reverse of lenitionFaithHighFreq >> *Structure >> FaithLowFreqBoersma (p.c.) calls this learning “articulatory”How does processing level affect the XY logic?How can there be “extra-lexical” frequency effects?
29Escape hatch # 3: Everything is lexical Memory resides in synapses, so everything the brain does is “memorized”Frequency alone can’t diagnose processing stageE.g. whole-word frequency effects in the access of morphologically complex wordsWhole-word storage in the mental lexicon?... or memory traces of the morpheme combination process (Taft 2004, Myers et al. 2006)?Does grammar provide any insights here?
30The argument (reprise) If all lenition is driven by articulation...... and is expressed mentally by lexicalized peripheral processing, not grammar or the “linguist’s lexicon” ...... and lenition is the source of some of the most interesting “real” phonology ...... then what does a markedness-based grammar have left to do?
31Frequency effects in lenition and the challenge of lexicalized markedness James MyersNational Chung Cheng UniversityWorkshop on Variation, Gradience and Frequency in PhonologyStanford University, July 2007
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