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LINGUIST List 16.3394

Mon Nov 28 2005

Qs: Research Topic;Acoustic Discreteness v. Continuity

Editor for this issue: Jessica Boynton <jessicalinguistlist.org>

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        1.    fikre reda, Research Topic
        2.    Peyton Todd, Acoustic Discreteness vs. Continuity in Production

Message 1: Research Topic
Date: 28-Nov-2005
From: fikre reda <figreda14yahoo.com>
Subject: Research Topic

Dear sir/madam:

I am trying to prepare a research topic for a PhD program. My preference
divided among some possible areas. I finally decided to work on Gender
Assignment to Inanimate Beings: a socioliguistc Approach. I did my masters
degee in Teaching English as a Foreign Language ( TEFL). So do you think
this is a researchable area?

Code switching is also the second option I have in my list.What about this?
I kindly request you to forward me your scholarly opinion regarding my
questions. The medium of instruction used is English but I am planning to
relate the topic with a certain minority semitic language.

with Regards,

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Message 2: Acoustic Discreteness vs. Continuity in Production
Date: 25-Nov-2005
From: Peyton Todd <peytontoddmindspring.com>
Subject: Acoustic Discreteness vs. Continuity in Production

Hello. I have two related questions:

1. No one doubts that phonemes are discrete. They are perceived
categorically, for example. But is it known whether their pronunciation is
discrete ACOUSTICALLY? That is, imagining an acoustic 'space' - I don't
know how many dimensions - maybe height of formant 1, height of formant 2,
amount of fricative noise, etc? - how much overlap is there? To keep it
simple, assume I'm asking about a single speaker:. I presume there is at
least some overlap, but is it substantial?

2. The above question was really to set the context for my main question,
which is about intonation. To many people, intonation at least seems to
vary continuously. I realize that there are theories (e.g. Pierrehumbert's)
which claim there are discrete tones (H, L, evidently M for some) and
discrete positions for them (H*, H-, H%, etc.) and further constellations
thereof ('surprise-redundancy', 'contrast-incredulity', etc.), but: do
their ACOUSTIC profiles 'clump' ( in the productions of a given speaker) to
the same extent as what I presume is found for segmental phonemes? Does it
do so at all?

References which show this?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Peyton Todd

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

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