This chapter looks at the acquisition of comparatives from formal, theoretical, and cross-linguistic perspectives. It begins by reviewing children’s aberrations from adults in the form of the comparative constructions that they produce through at least age 6, and then turns to theoretical accounts of comparatives and degree constructions across a range of languages to pinpoint specific areas in the construction of a comparative in which children’s representations and interpretations may go astray, or converge with adults. A range of studies and methodologies used over the years are reviewed in order to present a clear picture of what we currently know about children’s developing understanding of comparison and comparatives, and to clear a path for future research in this area.
In amphichronic phonology, synchronic and diachronic explanation feed each other. The architecture of grammar predicts the possible modes of implementation of phonological change (including neogrammarian regularity) and the life cycle of sound patterns. In turn, the life cycle accounts for synchronic phenomena such as scattered rules and the relative stratal affiliation of cognate processes.
Launched in 1989, when Elizabeth Gordon became aware of the existence of a set of recordings of early New Zealand English, the Origins of New Zealand English Project (ONZE) provides a unique opportunity to investigate sound change. These “Mobile Unit” (MU) recordings were made in the 1940s for radio broadcast, and included reminiscences from speakers born as early as the 1850s. The recordings are significant because they date to the first stages of large-scale immigration to New Zealand from the British Isles, representing the first generation of English speakers born in New Zealand. These recordings, which are in the possession of the University of Canterbury, form the core of the ONZE project. Interviews with more than 100 of these early speakers have now been compiled, digitized, transcribed, time-aligned, and then automatically segmented at the phoneme level. The Mobile Unit recordings have been a valuable tool for testing theories of the formation of new dialects.
This article provides details on human speech production involving a range of physical features, which may have evolved as specific adaptations for this purpose. All mammalian vocalizations are produced similarly, involving features that primarily evolved for respiration or ingestion. Sounds are produced using the flow of air inhaled through the nose or mouth, or expelled from the lungs. Unvoiced sounds are produced without the involvement of the vocal folds of the larynx. Mammalian vocalizations require coordination of the articulation of the supralaryngeal vocal tract with the flow of air, in or out. An extensive series of harmonics above a fundamental frequency, F0 for phonated sounds is produced by resonance. These series are filtered by the shape and size of the vocal tract, resulting in the retention of some parts of the series, and diminution or deletion of others, in the emitted vocalization. Human sound sequences are also much more rapid than those of non-human primates, except for very simple sequences such as repetitive trills or quavers. Human vocal tract articulation is much faster, and humans are able to produce multiple sounds on a single breath movement, inhalation or exhalation. The unique form of the tongue within the vocal tract in humans is considered to be a key factor in the speech-related flexibility of supralaryngeal vocal tract.
Empirical research often involves three activities: the systematic annotation of audiovisual media (coding), the management of the resulting data in a corpus, and various forms of statistical analysis. This chapter presents ANVIL, a highly generic and theory-independent research tool that supports all three activities in conjunction with audio, video, and 3D motion capture data. The tool allows to specify a formal coding scheme as a blueprint for project-specific coding. The process of coding is conducted on parallel time-aligned tracks. Instead of simple tags, ANVIL offers typed attributes for describing the basic annotation elements which can be used to hide away complexity and reduce visual clutter. Track types (interval vs. point) and logical track relationships (singleton, span, subdivision) further increase the clarity and consistency of the coding. Spatial mark-up on the video frame allows annotation of regions over time. For corpus management, ANVIL allows annotation files to be grouped into projects for browsing, export, and analysis across a corpus of data. For analysis, the tool supports simple descriptive analyses like transition diagrams or label frequency histograms and more complex operations like automatic inter-coder agreement computation (Cohen’s kappa).
Dina El Zarka
This overview of intonation in Arabic compares the intonational systems of selected Arabic dialects from Morocco in the West to Kuwait in the East. The formal comparison will mainly be carried out within the framework of autosegmental-metrical (AM) theory, taking the phonetic micro-prosody of the identified pitch accents as a tertium comparationis. Furthermore, the intonation systems will be compared with respect to prosodic phrasing. The second part of the overview is devoted to the functions of intonation in Arabic. In this section, the comparison will be based on a wider range of descriptions, including work carried out within other theoretical frameworks. The section will identify the role of metrical and tonal structures and the way they interact with syntax, information structure, and sentence mode in different varieties of Arabic. The concluding section will provide a preliminary typological picture of Arabic prosody with respect to the macro-rhythmic properties of Arabic.
Joshua Viau and Ann Bunger
Children acquiring any language must develop an understanding both of how event components are encoded in verb meanings and of the argument structure of those verbs, that is, how the participants of the event that each verb describes map onto linguistic arguments. This chapter begins with an overview of the major issues in the study of argument structure, including a consideration of the balance of power between verbs and constructions as it pertains to the encoding of thematic relations and a comparison of theoretical approaches with an eye toward learnability. The core of the chapter consists of a comprehensive synthesis of the current state of developmental research on argument structure.
Articulatory Analysis and Acoustic Modeling: Articulatory To Acoustic ModelingUltrasound As a Tool For Speech ResearchMethodologies Used to Investigate Laryngeal Function and Aerodynamic Properties of SpeechOn The Acoustics and Aerodynamics of Fricatives
Khalil Iskarous, Lisa Davidson, Helen M. Hanson, and Christine H. Shadle
This article describes theory and research methods employed for articulatory, acoustic, and aerodynamic analysis of speech. One of the theories, dispersion-focalization theory (DFT), combines two ideas that include focalization and contrast maximization. Focalization is a property that emerges from acoustic model nomograms and refers to points where constriction placement results in formants being close to each other (focal points). The theory distinguishes between independent and non-independent secondary contrasts. Independent secondary contrasts are secondary contrasts that do not interact with the primary vowel contrasts, while non-independent contrasts are secondary contrasts that affect the primary ones. The principle of distinctive region model (DRM) is that different regions of the vocal tract have uniform acoustic behavior. The results of DRM are based on how formation and release of constrictions affect the formants at different locations within the vocal tract. The DRM theory of linguistic contrast is based on the pseudo-orthogonality of the discrete regions and on a dynamic articulatory-acoustic principle stating that segments are preferred, which allow for the least motion from one segment to another, while maximizing contrast. Ultrasound imaging is increasingly been used to address specifically phonological questions. The technology is also used to examine the status of excrescent schwas in various phonological environments.
Joan L. Bybee
This chapter discusses the role of articulatory processing in sound change, emphasizing the tendency towards reduction and overlap of articulatory gestures, as well as explanations proposed for this tendency. The pattern of lexical diffusion proceeding from most to least frequent words and phrases is discussed as evidence for the important role of articulation in sound change.
Austronesian is the second largest language family on earth in number of languages, and had the widest geographical extent of any language family prior to the modern era. For these reasons it shows great typological diversity in word-formation processes, ranging from extremely elaborate systems of affixation in Philippine-type languages to systems that depend far more on compounding in some of the languages of Melanesia. Some of the more striking devices used in word formation include subtractive morphology in vocative forms, stress shifts as signalers of word-class change, and an extremely rich inventory of reduplication processes, including several that are theoretically unexpected, as well as the active use of triplication as a process that is distinct from serial reduplication.