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LINGUIST List 21.2565

Fri Jun 11 2010

Diss: Phonetics/Phonology: Kaplan: 'Phonology Shaped by Phonetics: ...'

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        1.    Abby Kaplan, Phonology Shaped by Phonetics: The case of intervocalic lenition

Message 1: Phonology Shaped by Phonetics: The case of intervocalic lenition
Date: 09-Jun-2010
From: Abby Kaplan <kaplanasgmail.com>
Subject: Phonology Shaped by Phonetics: The case of intervocalic lenition
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Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Abby Kaplan

Dissertation Title: Phonology Shaped by Phonetics: The case of intervocalic lenition

Dissertation URL: http://people.ucsc.edu/~kaplanas/CV/dissertation.pdf

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Dissertation Director:
Armin Mester
Jaye Padgett
Keith Johnson
Grant McGuire

Dissertation Abstract:

The goal of this dissertation is to explore the phonetic bases of
intervocalic lenition -- specifically, voicing and spirantization of
intervocalic stops. A traditional understanding of phonological patterns
like these is that they involve articulatory effort reduction, in that
speakers substitute an easy sound for a hard one. Experiment 1 uses a
novel methodology to investigate whether voiced and spirantized productions
are truly easier than their unlenited counterparts: the speech of
intoxicated subjects is recorded and compared with their speech while
sober, on the hypothesis that intoxicated subjects expend less articulatory
effort. This experiment thus attempts to observe effort reduction in
action in the laboratory. The results of Experiment 1 do not provide
evidence that voicing and spirantization are effort-reducing; rather,
intoxicated subjects exhibit an overall contraction of the articulatory
space. Experiments 2 - 4 investigate whether an alternative account of
lenition based on the P-map is viable. Results suggest that attested
alternations such as spirantization of voiced stops are preferred on
perceptual grounds to unattested alternations such as intervocalic
devoicing. Thus, the P-map can explain the broad strokes of lenition,
although differences by place found in Experiment 3 do not match well with
the typology. I conclude with an analysis of intervocalic spirantization
couched within Optimality Theory, and particularly Dispersion Theory, using
constraints motivated by Experiments 1 - 4. Unlike previous accounts of
lenition, this analysis involves no constraints that directly favor lenited
forms over unlenited ones, since no such constraints were motivated by
Experiment 1. The constraints that are made available by the experimental
results are nevertheless able to account for a sizeable portion of the
typology of lenition. I conclude that articulatory factors say less about
lenition than traditionally thought, and that perceptual factors say more -
and that theories of phonology that are committed to taking phonetics
seriously must take notice.

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