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.
Paula Fikkert, Liquan Liu, and Mitsuhiko Ota
This chapter provides a state-of-the-art overview regarding the acquisition of three aspects of word prosody: lexical tone, pitch accent, and word stress. It also addresses word-learning studies where these prosodic features have been manipulated. Across these features, infants show evidence for perceptual tuning in the course of their first year: they prefer their native language patterns over non-native and infrequently encountered ones. Yet, it may take infants longer to use such receptive knowledge of word prosody for word learning, word recognition, and word production, and the timing of accurate utilization depends on the specific tones, pitch accents, and word-stress patterns. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the gaps in our knowledge, which involve longitudinal development and insight into the developmental triggers, the relationship between perception and production studies, and the interaction of word prosody with other domains of linguistics.
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.
Taehong Cho and Doris Mücke
Prosodic research in speech production usually focuses on the way the prosodic structure influences the phonetic implementation of segmental and suprasegmental features. The realization of a tone, for instance, involves not only dynamic changes so as to regulate the vocal fold vibration to produce f0 contours, but also the movement of articulators to simultaneously produce consonants and vowels. Articulatory measuring techniques help us to directly observe how these two systems are coordinated in the spatio-temporal dimension. A number of such techniques are discussed, along with examples indicating how each technique may be or has been used to study various aspects of prosody. They include laryngoscopy and electroglottography to examine laryngeal events associated with vocal fold vibration; systems such as electromagnetic articulography, an optoelectronic device, electropalatography, and ultrasound systems to explore supralaryngeal articulatory events; and aerodynamic measurement systems to record oral/subglottal pressure and oral/nasal flow.
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.
Sun-Ah Jun and Haruo Kubozono
This chapter describes the prosodic systems of Japanese and Korean, the two major languages spoken in the Asian Pacific Rim. It covers both lexical and post-lexical prosody of these languages, with the main focus on word accent and intonation. As for word accent, Japanese and Korean both exhibit various pitch accent systems ranging from those with multiple accent patterns to those in which pitch plays no distinctive role at the lexical level. The intonation systems of these two languages are also diverse, ranging from those with purely phrasal or boundary tones to those where intonational tones are constrained by lexical pitch accent patterns. However, both languages have an accentual phrase as the smallest prosodic unit defined by intonation. Similarities and differences between the prosodic systems of these two languages, including various regional dialects in each language, are analysed in the framework of the autosegmental-metrical model of intonational phonology.
Brett Baker, Mark Donohue, and Janet Fletcher
The languages of Australia constitute a single genetic group. They are non-tonal, in that tone is not lexically contrastive in any Australian language, and they tend to have stress systems where the location of stress is largely determined by the edges of morphemes. Their intonation systems are not unlike those of some European languages, though with phonetic rather than phonological effects of post-focal compression for the most part. The large number of languages of New Guinea are remarkable for their word-prosodic diversity and for that reason of great typological significance. While the entire area is under-investigated, the intonation systems in New Guinea are particularly poorly documented.
Nikolaus P. Himmelmann and Daniel Kaufman
While the Austronesian family is large, the main focus of this chapter is on the languages of the Philippines and Indonesia as very little is known about other parts of the family. In the languages analysed to date, intonational targets are often anchored to the edges rather than to metrically strong syllables, most intonational phrases ending with a major pitch excursion within a two- or three-syllable window. These languages often also lack evidence for word-based prominence (lexical stress), but in Philippine languages vowel length distinctions are phonemic and mobile, which is cross-linguistically unusual. Deviating from this general picture, languages in the southern half of Sulawesi and possibly further east tend to show word-based prominence on the penultimate syllable, with significant variation as to which clitics enter into the stress window. Lexical tone is only attested in small subgroups scattered across the area and generally due to language contact.
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.
Andrew Rosenberg and Mark Hasegawa-Johnson
Automatic prosody labelling is a useful front-end for automatic speech recognition, for automatic speech understanding, and for the development of corpora used to create speech synthesizers. Automatic labelling of prosody has also proven to be quite useful in the linguistic analysis of new speaking styles in a known language. This chapter provides a survey of the state-of-the-art best practices and open questions in the automatic labelling of prosodic information and its assessment. It describes the major prosodic inventories that are used in prosody labelling. It then discusses the relevance of acoustics and syntax in automatic labelling. A brief description of AuToBI, a tool that performs automatic ToBI labelling of US English, is provided. The chapter concludes by discussing methods of evaluating automatic prosody labelling.
Amalia Arvaniti and Janet Fletcher
The chapter outlines the basic principles of the autosegmental-metrical (AM) theory of intonational phonology. AM posits that at the phonological level intonation consists of a string of L(ow) and H(igh) tones (i.e. a string of tonal autosegments) that associate with metrical heads and phrasal boundaries. Phonetically, tones are realized as tonal targets, specific f0 points defined by their scaling and alignment; scaling refers to the pitch height of the tonal target, and alignment to the synchronization of the target with the segmental material that reflects its phonological association (typically stressed syllables and boundary-adjacent syllables). The chapter explains these essential tenets of AM in some detail and discusses how they differ from those of other models of intonation and what consequences these differences have for modelling and predicting the realization of pitch contours. The chapter presents the basics of phonological representation and phonetic modelling in AM, and briefly touches on intonational meaning and AM applications.
This chapter surveys the main phonological phenomena found in Bantu languages. One such phenomenon is vowel harmony, where suffixes typically alternate in height depending on the preceding vowel. Combinations of nasal plus consonant are also frequently subject to various modifications; such clusters play an important role in debates over syllable structure, since Bantu languages seem to exhibit the peculiarity that the only onset clusters of consonantals are composed of a nasal followed by an obstruent, reversing the more general linguistic tendency for sonority to rise in the syllable onset. The tone systems of Bantu languages are especially well known for their complex systems of alternations in the form of spreading, dissimilation, and grammatically conditioned melodic alternation. A key feature of interest in the study of Bantu phonology is the considerable variability in the exact details of operation of a highly similar set of rules.
This chapter discusses the most fundamental types of phonological change. The first part is a presentation of the basic notions underlying virtually any discussion in historical phonology (conditioning of changes, the phonological levels affected, basic structural consequences, persistent rules vs. sound change). In the other part the major types of sound change (featural, segmental as well as prosodic) are presented under nine headings (assimilation, dissimilation, deletion, insertion, lenition, fortition, metathesis, lengthening and gemination, shortening and degemination). The goal of this chapter is to provide a theory-neutral presentation of these general notions.
The present article poses some fundamental questions related to bilingualism and to the acquisition of two phonological components, by very young children. It discusses different types of bilingualism and their outcomes. After a brief consideration of alleged pros and cons of bilingualism brought up in the past decades, two perspectives of bilingualism are sketched—psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic—and certain aspects of bilingual child phonology are presented from each of these points of view. The essential issue is whether different outcomes of bilingual child phonology are predictable, and to find the crucial criteria to support the predictions. Finally, the discussion addresses some basic questions about bilingual acquisition, and ends with a summary of various types of cross-linguistic interaction.