LINGUIST List 18.2659|
Wed Sep 12 2007
Diss: Phonetics/Phonology: Astorkiza: 'Minimal Contrast and the Pho...'
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Minimal Contrast and the Phonology-Phonetics Interaction
Message 1: Minimal Contrast and the Phonology-Phonetics Interaction
From: Rebeka Campos Astorkiza <campos-astorkiza.1osu.edu>
Subject: Minimal Contrast and the Phonology-Phonetics Interaction
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Institution: University of Southern California
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007
Author: Rebeka Campos Astorkiza
Dissertation Title: Minimal Contrast and the Phonology-Phonetics Interaction
This dissertation investigates the role of minimal contrast in phonetic
patterns and phonological phenomena. Two sounds are minimally contrastive
when they differ in just one property. The main findings are that (i)
minimal contrast can influence the outcome of phonetic effects and that
(ii) phonological processes may single out minimally contrastive elements.
A contrast-coindexing function is developed in order to mark elements that
are minimally contrastive for some property.
An experimental study is conducted to test the influence of minimal length
contrast on the phonetic voicing effect, a pattern by which vowels are
longer before voiced than before voiceless obstruents, in Lithuanian. In
Lithuanian, only high and low vowels are minimally contrastive for length.
Mid vowels are always long. The experimental results indicate that
contextual modification of vowel duration is more limited for those vowels
that are minimally contrastive for length than for those that are not.
These results are argued to stem from the functional requirement to
maintain distinct contrasts.
The experimental results show that phonetic patterns can be sensitive to
minimal contrast. Therefore, I argue that the phonological representation
must include information about minimal contrast, which the phonetic
component can access. I formalize this contrast with a contrast-coindexing
function. Framed within Optimality Theory, contrast-coindexing applies to
minimally contrastive segments capable of distinguishing pairs of words,
adopting a systemic approach to contrast. Under the contrast-coindexing
analysis, length contrasts are represented using the same mechanisms as for
other contrasts. This approach has implications for the moraic
representation of length contrasts, which fails to capture minimal length
The proposal to incorporate minimal contrast into the phonological
representation predicts that this kind of contrast might also be active in
phonological phenomena. Evidence for this prediction is presented from
vowel height harmony in Lena Asturian. In Lena, only vowels that are
minimally contrastive for height can trigger harmony. The typology of vowel
harmony illustrated by several varieties related to Lena lends further
support to the claim that minimal contrast is active in the phonology. The
contrast-coindexing proposal is extended to other phonological patterns, in
which minimally contrastive elements are singled out.
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