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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Cognitive Phonetics: A formal metatheoretical and representational account of the speaking behaviour Add Dissertation
Author: Nicos Sifakis Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Essex, BA in English Language & Linguistics Schemes
Completed in: 1994
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics;
Director(s): Mark Tatham

Abstract: The purpose of the thesis is to reorientate the relationship between phonology and phonetics with respect to an interfacing unit, called cognitive phonetics. This is achieved in two ways.

First, metatheoretically: the relationship (or 'gap') between the archetypal abstract nature of phonology and physical nature of phonetics is discussed and certain theories that explain and formalise that relationship are criticised. According to these theories, most accounts offer either monistic (neurolinguistic, mentalistic) or dualistic solutions, both of which present problems. Eventually, a cognitive phonetic metatheory is presented which views the relationship functionalistically. This account views speech in terms of an extremely complicated interplay of linguistic and extra-linguistic parameters that influence cognitive decisions. The decisions are analysed with respect to the notion of 'control' that speaking agents exert over their physical and cognitive mechanisms during the production and perception of speech (now called 'speaking behaviour').

And secondly, representationally: the cognitive phonetic interface is a two-tiered unit, with two types of information fed into each tier. The first type is based on the notion of control and its various 'modes' used (e.g., active, inactive, dynamic, habitualised, automaticised, etc.). The second type is based on the need to classify the various parameters that activate the control modes. This is done in terms of a revised version of the extrinsic allophone theory. Extrinsic allophones were first used in the early '70s, but their `special' function as essentially abstract (phonemic) units with a physical (phonetic) basis had not yet been fully acknowledged. The representational potential of the cognitive phonetic interface is formalised with the description

d ( s , e1 , e2 , i ) 3 s' [ Dy / Ha / Au ]

which represents the input and output of the unit, together with the two sorts of parameters discussed and the relevant control modes. The formalism is used, first, to strengthen the representatial potential of the theory and, secondly, to enable phonologists, phoneticians and every other speaking behaviour scientist to better understand speech and build experiments that can be interpreted by every student of speech.