LINGUIST List 23.3617

Wed Aug 29 2012

Review: Cognitive Science; Phonetics; Phonology: Cohn, Fougeron & Huffman (2012)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <>

Date: 29-Aug-2012
From: Phoebe Lin <>
Subject: The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology
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EDITORS: Abigail C. Cohn, Cécile Fougeron and Marie K. HuffmanTITLE: The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory PhonologySERIES TITLE: Oxford Handbooks in LinguisticsPUBLISHER: Oxford University PressYEAR: 2012

Phoebe M.S. Lin, Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics, CityUniversity of Hong Kong

SUMMARYCohn, Fougeron and Huffman's 'Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology' providesa comprehensive overview of laboratory phonology, an approach that first beganto gain explicit recognition in 1987 in close association with the biennialconference of the same name (known as LabPhon). The volume consists of 22 papersin 5 parts: I: Introduction (Chapters 1-3), II: Nature and Types of Variation:Their Interpretation within a Laboratory Phonology Perspective (Chapters 4-7),III: Multidimensional Representations of Knowledge of Sound Structure (Chapters8-13), IV: Integrating Different Perspectives: Insights from Production,Perception and Acquisition (Chapters 14-16) and V: Methodologies and Resources(Chapters 17-22).

Chapter 1, 'Introduction' by Abigail C. Cohn, Cécile Fougeron and Marie K.Huffman, sets the scene by providing the background and a brief history oflaboratory phonology before introducing the book's organisation. Beginning withthe first LabPhon conference at Ohio State University, laboratory phonology hassought to advance our understanding of human speech by situating it in the widercontext of the human cognitive and biological systems. As a multidisciplinaryapproach to human speech research, it draws on theories and methods from adiverse range of experimentally-oriented fields, including phonetics,sociolinguistics, language acquisition, speech science and psycholinguistics.The book is designed to illustrate key topics, methods and outcomes in the field.

Chapter 2, 'Introduction, Papers in Laboratory Phonology I: Between the Grammarand Physics of Speech' by Mary E. Beckman and John Kingston, is a reprint (withre-editing) of the authors' (1990) introduction to the proceedings of the firstLabPhon conference. The paper lays out the authors' vision for laboratoryphonology and discusses how the then budding field offers the opportunity toovercome the unnecessary division of labour between phonetics and phonology.

Chapter 3, 'Conceptual Foundations of Phonology as a Laboratory Science' byJanet B. Pierrehumbert, Mary E. Beckman and D. Robert Ladd, is a reprint of a2000 book chapter. To clarify the position of laboratory phonology, the chapterdraws on recent work in the philosophy of science regarding the hallmarks ofsuccessful scientific communities. Those present in the field of laboratoryphonology include population size (i.e. the number of member in the field) andthe diversity of viewpoints of the members, the existence of auxiliary theories,the maintenance of a common vocabulary and the use of mathematics to makeprecise theoretical predictions. The chapter ends with a discussion offundamental issues, including discrete/continuous formalism, categoriality andcompetence/performance.

Chapter 4, 'Speaker-Related Variation -- Sociophonetic Factors' by GerardDocherty and Norma Mendoza-Denton, bridges the gap between sociophonetics andlaboratory phonology by addressing their differences in terms of frame ofreference, terminology and analytic methodology. Despite the increasingconvergence of the two areas, it is important to get them to--in the authors'words--'speak the same language'. The paper highlights the ways in whichsociophonetics and laboratory phonology may be mutually beneficial and arguesthat any comprehensive account of speech processing and representation shouldfactor in social-indexical components, such as an individual's previouslinguistic experience in the speech community, his/her self-identity, andhis/her identity in relation to the audience in the immediate communicativecontext. In this regard, the exemplar approach to phonological representationshows promise as a comprehensive framework that brings together sociophoneticsand laboratory phonology and adequately factors in the social-indexical aspect.

Chapter 5, 'Integrating Variation in Phonological Analysis', argues that anadequate model of phonological grammar should give a full account of variationinstead of relegating it to the background. The first half of the chapter byAndries W. Coetzee points out that phonological variation, whether it isgradient or discrete, is the result of multiple factors. These factors can begrammatical (e.g., the following phonological context) or non-grammatical (e.g.,the age of the speaker and lexical frequency). The second half by Arto Anttilademonstrates how variability can be accounted for using a model based onOptimality Theory. The cases of English t/d deletion and Finnish word stressillustrate the proposed model.

Chapter 6, 'Message-Related Variation', discusses segmental and tonalvariations. In the first half, Mirjam Ernestus reviews the different models thathave been proposed to account for the production and comprehension ofpronunciation variants involving assimilation and reduction (e.g., ArticulatoryPhonology, the exemplar-based model and the Underspecification Theory). In thesecond half, Yiya Chen examines tonal co-articulation across languages withparticular focus on languages that have lexical tones (e.g., Sinitic languages).The idea that emerges from Chen's review of earlier work is that the way focusis realised through pitch is similar whether it is a language with lexical tones(e.g., Mandarin Chinese) or a language without (e.g., English): the pitch rangeof the focused item is expanded, while that of the post-focus items iscompressed and lowered and that of the pre-focus items remains neutral.

Chapter 7, 'System-Related Variation' by Philip Hoole, Barbara Kühnert andMarianne Pouplier, explores the ways in which the biomechanics of the speechorgans contribute to variations in the acoustics of segments. Through examiningthe cases of velar stops and intrinsic f0 effects on vowel height and consonantvoicing, it becomes clear that system-related variation is delicate and complexin nature. The difficulty with investigating system-related variation is due tothe lack of comprehensive data on the dynamic actions of the speech organs inspeech production as well as the challenges in separating the contributions ofvariance of the higher-level control structures and the executing system.

Chapter 8, 'Lexical Representations', presents four different perspectives onthe dynamics of lexical representation. Based on the observation that speechperception is not hindered by the great surface variation in the phoneticrealisation of words, the first section by Adam Albright examines how muchphonological information is stored in the mental lexicon. As Albright notes,researchers hold very different views about the need to include predictable orredundant phonetic specifications in lexical representations and the sufficiencyof the phonological grammar in handling surface variation of phoneticrealisations. The second section by Aditi Lahiri presents a view of lexicalrepresentation built upon the notion of a Featurally Underspecified Lexicon(FUL). She offers a brief description of FUL and a demonstration of how FULoperates from the extraction of features in the speech signal to the successfulrecognition of words. The third section by Sarah Hawkins challenges theexistence of a mental lexicon and the status of the word as a privilegedlinguistic and meaning unit, and proposes an alternative speech processing modelbased on domain-general perceptual mechanisms. The final section by Janet B.Pierrehumbert considers the dynamic relationship between the lexical systems ofindividuals and the lexical systems of the community with a particular focus onthe factors that influence the rise and fall of (new) words in the communitylexicon (e.g., a word's frequency of use and some social factors).

Chapter 9, 'Phonological Elements', covers distinctive features, contrastivetone and a model of phonological category learning. The first section ondistinctive features by Jeff Mielke deals with the typology of sound patternswith a particular focus on human cognition. According to Mielke, cognitivebiases can influence the typology of sound patterns in a complex manner, and themechanism of this influence needs to be accounted for. The second section byElizabeth C. Zsiga addresses various questions pertaining to contrastive tone,including its nature, representation and realisation, by drawing on differentlaboratory approaches (e.g., acoustic measurement of f0 patterns, perception andarticulatory studies and modelling). The final section by Paul Boersma presentsa model of category learning, including its characteristics and how it compareswith similar models. The model is an extension of the Boersma (1998) model andinvolves computer simulations of a learning algorithm developed based onOptimality Theory.

Chapter 10, 'Organisation of Phonological Elements', presents three approachesto the organisation of phonological elements. The first section by AdamantiosGafos and Louis Goldstein discusses the organisation of phonological elementsfrom the perspective of Articulatory Phonology, and explains how the constructof speech gesture may explain various phonological phenomena, including syllablestructure. The second section by Marie-Hélène Côté argues for thepsycholinguistic reality of the syllable as a phonological unit in phonologicalprocesses, production and perception studies and statistical analyses of thelexicon. The final section by Alice Turk provides an account of durationalvariability associated with prosodic organisation, including the use of segmentor syllable lengthening to signal prominence and the use of pause and initiallengthening to signal prosodic boundaries. The author also considersArticulatory Phonology to be a powerful theory because it provides differentways of modelling durational variability and its complex interactions with otherlayers of the prosodic hierarchy.

Chapter 11, 'Prosodic Representations', explores the nature of prosodicrepresentations from the perspective of the autosegmental-metrical (AM) model ofintonational phonology. The first section by Sónia Frota shows that it ispossible to integrate three different views of prosodic structure (i.e.,rule-based structure, intonation-based structure and prominence-based structure)and raises issues of prosodic constituents and levels of phrasing. The secondsection by Amalia Arvaniti reviews the fundamental principles of the AM approachto intonation, in which prosodic constituents and levels of phrasing are key.The final section by Mariapaola D'Imperio addresses issues pertaining to tonalalignment (i.e., how target tones are temporally coordinated or synchronizedwith prosodic units and their constituents), including its variability andlanguage specificity.

Chapter 12, 'Phonological Representations in Language Acquisition: Climbing theLadder of Abstraction' by Benjamin Munson, Jan Edwards and Mary E. Beckman,discusses the progressive development of phonological representations in firstlanguage learners. From before birth to 12 years of age, phonologicalrepresentations constantly change and grow in terms of the level of abstraction.Language specificity takes shape before a child turns 1. While a child'sperception of speech segments, language input and early speech production allplay a part in the dynamic changes of phonological representations in the brain,the researchers particularly note the interdependence between vocabulary sizeand phonological representations. In other words, a child's vocabulary sizegrows with his/her speech perception ability and the increase in vocabulary sizefurther enhances speech perception ability. This knowledge and discernment ofspeech segments is derived from multiple factors, including the segments'articulation and acoustics, and their functions in the mental lexicon andsocially situated communication.

Chapter 13, 'Changes in Representations', examines the link between synchronicvariation and diachronic language change from different approaches. The firstsection by Ioana Chitoran presents an overview of the type of changes (e.g.,listener-perceived versus speaker-produced variation) and explains therelationship between synchronic variation and diachronic change using theconcept of phonologisation, exemplified by the transition from phoneticvariation to phonological variation in Hyman's (1976) model. The second sectionby Jonathan Harrington focuses on addressing why languages and varieties acrossthe world appear to follow similar paths of diachronic change despite ostensiblyrandom phonetic variation. The chapter points to the significance of unwittingimitation of speech behaviours among interlocutors in propagating diachronicchange. The final section by Robert Kirchner offers an exemplar theory-basedaccount of language change. The Phonological Exemplar-Based Learning System(PEBLS) is presented as a solution to a specific problem with generating acomposite output from a collection of unique, variable-length signals.

Chapter 14, 'Insights from Perception and Comprehension', reviews research onspeech category learning and the mapping of the input speech signal tophonological representations in the speech perception process. The first half ofthe chapter by Lori L. Holt reviews key research evidence pertaining to nativeand non-native speech category learning by infants, children and adults (as wellas animals) with the aim of isolating the factors of speech category learning.The second half by Noél Nguyen examines theories that attempt to explain themechanism of spoken word recognition. According to Nguyen, the FeaturallyUnderspecified Lexicon model (also referred to as the abstractionist model) andthe exemplar-based model differ in their views of the role of context and therelevance of fine phonetic detail in speech perception. However, there are alsorecent models that aim to bridge the gap between the abstractionist and theexemplar-based models (e.g., Tuller et al., 1994; Tuller, 2004).

Chapter 15, 'Emergent Information Level Coupling between Perception andProduction' by Bob McMurray and Ashley Farris-Trimble, argues thatperception-production coupling emerges as a by-product ofdistributional/statistical learning, part of the general learning mechanism. Toillustrate the underpinnings of this coupling, the authors discuss three cases(i.e., interactive spread activation, developmental mechanisms and theidentification of categories in the presence of variability in the input). Theyconclude that perception results in a probabilistic representation, which isfundamental in accounting for the link between perception and production.

Chapter 16, 'Insights from Acquisition and Learning', reviews work onphonological development in early first language acquisition, bilingualism,multilingualism and second language acquisition. The first section by KatherineDemuth and Jae Yung Song presents an overview of factors that influencewithin-speaker variability in first language acquisition, including syllable andprosodic word structures, children's articulatory control and the phonotacticcomplexity and position of the target items in the utterance. The second sectionby Paola Escudero brings together previous empirical research findings in orderto pin down the various language processing difficulties facing sequential andsimultaneous bilinguals and multilinguals. For instance, simultaneous bilinguals(but not sequential bilinguals) can perform like monolingual listeners whenperceiving vowels and consonants in behavioural speech perception studies (butnot in studies that use electroencephalography). The final section by RajkaSmiljanic outlines key research questions in second language speech perceptionand production research. These key questions include the phonetic effect that L2exhibits on the L1 and the extent to which the absence of a specific phoneticcontrast in L1 may lead to difficulties in perceiving and producing the samecontrast present in the inventory of the L2.

Chapter 17, 'Corpora, Databases, and Internet Resources', focuses on the issueof data sources in phonetics and phonology research. The first section byJennifer Cole and Mark Hasegawa-Johnson focuses on corpus phonology. Afterintroducing the various uses of speech corpora in phonological research, theydiscuss practical issues, including how to choose a corpus and how to transcribea corpus prosodically and phonetically. The second section by Dan Loehr andLinda Van Guilder examines the uses of the internet as a source of data. Thediscussion has two parts: a list of phonological databases and resources thatare available on the internet, and points to note when conducting phonologicalexperiments via the internet. The third section by Henning Reetz introducestechniques in speech manipulation, speech synthesis and forced alignment (i.e.,the forced mapping of each phone in a word on some portion of its acousticsignal). The final section by Stefan A. Frisch considers the use of lexicalcorpora in studies of language phonology and concentrates on the opportunitieslexical corpora offer in the analysis of the distribution, frequency andprobability of phonological patterns.

Chapter 18, 'Articulatory Analysis and Acoustic Modeling', describes the theoryof and research methods for articulatory, acoustic and aerodynamic analysis ofspeech. The first section by Khalil Iskarous critically reviews four theoriesthat attempt to deductively explain the physical sources of distinctive featuresand the contrastive systems of the world's languages (Quantal Theory, Theory ofAdaptive Dispersion, Dispersion-Focalisation Theory and the Distinctive RegionModel). The second section by Lisa Davidson discusses issues pertaining to theuse of ultrasound as a tool for speech research, including the advantages,practical operation and methodological considerations. The third section byHelen M. Hanson reviews methods used to investigate laryngeal function (e.g.,fiberscopy, photoglottography and electroglottography) and aerodynamicproperties of speech (e.g., pneumotachography, plethysmography and trachealpuncture). The final section by Christine H. Shadle explores the acoustics andaerodynamics of fricatives with particular focus on recording, measurement andanalysis techniques.

Chapter 19, 'Prosodic Analysis', surveys research methods in prosodic research.The first section by Pilar Prieto introduces the concepts and uses of a range ofexperimental methods and paradigms, such as Categorical Perception (CP), theGating paradigm, Priming, eye-tracking, Event Related Potentials (ERPs) andfunctional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The second section by BrechtjePost and Francis Nolan considers issues of research design and data collection,including qualitative versus quantitative methods and naturalistic versuselicited data. These issues are discussed with reference to three speech corporadesigned for prosody research, including the Romance Languages Database (RLD),the Spontal project and the APriL project.

Chapter 20, 'Encoding, Decoding, and Acquisition', introduces experimentalmethods used to study online processing of speech. The first section by JessicaMaye discusses experimental methods (e.g., tracking of pre-natal infant heartrate, high-amplitude sucking, looking time and head-turn response) and paradigms(i.e., habituation, preference and conditioned response) for testing infants'phonetic reception. The second section by Niels O. Schiller focuses on methodsfor investigating phonological encoding in speech production. The methods aredivided into two types: behavioural methods (e.g., reaction time, implicit andexplicit priming and the picture-word interference paradigm) and neurocognitivemethods (particularly electroencephalography). The third section by Paul Iversonintroduces methods for investigating phonetic perception in adults, includingmeasurements of categorisation (such as identification tasks and goodness-ratingtasks) and measurements of perceptual sensitivity (such as categorydiscrimination, judgements and multidimensional scaling). The fourth section byShari R. Speer examines the advantages and applications of eye-tracking inspeech research and the practical issues concerning its use in laboratoryphonology. The final section by William Idsardi and David Poeppel reviews arange of neuroimaging techniques (e.g., electroencephalography,magnetoencephalography, fMRI) and offers advice on the practical operation ofelectroencephalography and magnetoencephalography for laboratory phonology.

Chapter 21, 'Experimental Design and Data Collection', discusses issues ofresearch design and methods in sociophonetics. The first section by James M.Scobbie and Jane Stuart-Smith raises awareness about the need to incorporatesocially-structured pools of participants in the design of laboratory phonologystudies. In Stuart-Smith's research into Glasgow English, for instance, insteadof taking a random sample of Glaswegian participants, care was taken to balancethe number of samples taken from each gender, age and social class. The secondsection by Natasha Warner presents methods for studying spontaneous speech andhighlights the usefulness of speech corpora as a source of spontaneous speechdata. The final section by Paul Warren and Jennifer Hay examines how laboratoryphonology techniques can be brought into sociolinguistics to widen the scope ofits investigations, data types and data analysis.

Chapter 22, 'Statistical Analyses', presents techniques that can be used inspeech research. The first section by John Kingston uses two case studies usinglinear models of continuous dependent variables and mixed-effects models ofordinal dependent variables. The second section by Harald Baayen focuses onmixed-effects models and argues for their usefulness in revealing the structureof quantitative data. The final section by Cynthia G. Clopper introducesclustering, multidimensional scaling and factor analysis as methods that areuseful in visualising and interpreting the relationships between variables inhigh-dimensional spaces.

EVALUATION'The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology' aims to serve as a guide to thephilosophy, workings and findings of the laboratory phonology approach. Itachieves this goal by bringing together leaders in the field to providestate-of-the-art reviews of how laboratory phonology has influenced research intheir specialist areas.

Laboratory phonology as an approach to phonetics and phonology emphasizes,amongst other things, experimentation and the use of actual data to supportclaims and arguments. Its applicability is virtually unlimited, as the papershere make clear. Despite the wide coverage of topics of laboratory phonology,some key concerns of the approach emerge in the Handbook. The concerns relateparticularly to the cognition and processing of sounds, such as therepresentation of sounds in the mental lexicon, the mapping of input sounds withthe representation in word recognition, development of phonological knowledge ininfants and experimental techniques for testing online language processing.Other recurrent themes include sociophonetic research and the use of spokencorpora in phonology research.

While the breadth of coverage and the depth of knowledge are clear strengths ofthe book, a difficulty I encountered concerns the organisation. Most chaptersare divided into separate sections written by specialists. Although theindividual sections are well-written, the connection between sections is notalways clear. In the absence of a chapter conclusion or summary, the overallmessage of the chapter as a whole is often unclear.

The book is written for phoneticians, phonologists, speech scientists andsociolinguists in order to raise awareness of the importance of experimentation.For the specialist, this Handbook is a useful resource as it offers reviews andsummaries of the latest research by leaders in the field of phonetics andphonology, though it might be less accessible for a general linguistic audience.It is a good starting point for any researcher who needs an update on thespecific research questions covered.

REFERENCESBoersma, P. (1998). Functional phonology: formalizing the interactions betweenarticulatory and perceptual drives. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.

Hyman, L. (1976). Phonologization. In A. Juilland (ed.), Linguistic studiespresented to Joseph H. Greenberg (pp. 407-418). Saratoga: Anma Libri.

Tuller, B. (2004). Categorization and learning in speech perception as dynamicalprocesses. In M. A. Riley and G. C. Van Orden (eds.), Tutorials in contemporarynonlinear methods for the behavioral sciences. National Science Foundation.<>

Tuller, B., Case, P., Ding, M. and Kelso, J. A. S. (1994). The nonlineardynamics of speech categorization. Journal of Experimental Psychology: HumanPerception and Performance, 20, 3-16.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERPhoebe M. S. Lin is Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Chinese,Translation and Linguistics of City University of Hong Kong. Her researchfocuses on the acquisition, processing and use of idiomatic language byfirst and foreign language learners. She publishes on corpus linguistics,applied linguistics, English vocabulary and second language acquisition.She has a forthcoming monograph on the prosody of formulaic language inspontaneous English spoken discourse.

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