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Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

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Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Causes and Consequences of Word Structure Add Dissertation
Author: Jennifer Hay Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Northwestern University, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2000
Linguistic Subfield(s): Morphology;
Director(s): Christopher Kennedy
Lance Rips
Mary Beckman

Abstract: This dissertation explores effects of speech perception strategies upon morphological structure. Using connectionist modeling, perception and production experiments, and calculations over lexica, I investigate the role of two factors known to be relevant to speech perception -- phonotactics and lexical frequency. First, I demonstrate that low probability phoneme transitions across morpheme boundaries exert a considerable force towards the maintenance of complex words. Second, I demonstrate that the relative frequency of the derived form and the base significantly affects the decomposability of complex words. This contrasts with wide-spread assumptions involving the role of the absolute frequency of the derived form. While many have claimed that high frequency forms do not tend to be decomposed, I argue that this follows only when such forms are more frequent than the bases they contain.

I demonstrate that the manner in which we tend to access a morphologically complex form is not simply a matter of prelinguistic speech processing. It affects many aspects of that form's representation and behavior, including semantic transparency, polysemy, pitch accent placement, and the production of individual phonemes.

The results described above provide us with two invaluable diagnostics for gauging the decomposability of a complex word -- does it contain a phonotactic cue to juncture, and is it less frequent than the base it contains? The resulting understanding of decomposition yields considerable progress on morphological problems such as productivity, level ordering phenomena, and affix ordering restrictions. While traditional approaches have focused on affixes, I argue that the properties of affixes can not be sensibly be detached from the properties of the specific words in which they appear.

Taken together, the results in this dissertation illustrate the tight connection between speech processing, lexical representations, and aspects of linguistic competence. The likelihood that a form will be parsed during speech perception has profound consequences, from its grammaticality as a base of affixation, through to fine details of its implementation in the phonetics.