Gestural Phonlogy - UCLA

Gestural Phonlogy - UCLA

Taking the measure of phonetic structure Louis Goldstein Yale University and Haskins Laboratories On Measurement: I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the

beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science. Lord Kelvin, quoted by Peter Ladefoged, ICPhS, Leeds, 1975 Another Opinion Numbers are a scientists security blanket. Jenny Ladefoged Describing the phonetic properties of languages They must be determined by valid, reliable, significant measurements. measurement devices?

This commitment has led to fundamental questions. What are the appropriate reference frames within which to describe phonetic units? Is there a set of universal phonetic categories? Reference frames for vowels Descriptions of vowel quality in terms of the highest point of the tongue are not valid. QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture.

QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed see this picture. S.to Jones (1929) Auditory judgments of vowel quality Can be reliable when produced by phoneticians who learned the cardinal vowels by rote (Ladefoged, 1960) Gaelic Vowels

QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Formant frequency measurements Can be valid measures of vowel quality (Ladefoged, 1975) QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor

are needed to see this picture. Danish Vowels Factor Analysis of Tongue Shapes Valid low-dimensional parameterization Compute entire tongue shape from 2 numbers (Harshman, Ladefoged & Goldstein, 1977) QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Reference frame comparison

Tongue factors for vowels can be computed from formant frequencies. (Ladefoged et al. 1978) Different reference frames for different purposes? Phonetic specification of lexical items Articulatory Phonological patterning Acoustic/Auditory Speech production goals? Continuing Debate: Acoustic vs. constriction

goals Since tongue shapes and formants for vowels are inter-convertible, difficult to address for vowels. Such a relation holds when the tongue produces a single constriction. Cross-speaker variability in tongue shapes (Johnson, Ladefoged & Lindau, 1993) More variability than in auditory properties? Current debate about /r/ The relation between articulation and formants is more complex (in part because of multiple constrictions).

But wait Ladefogeds (1960) experiment has more to say One of the Gaelic vowels produced very inconsistent responses. spread round Correlation of backness and rounding judgments Effect of rounding on F2

QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture. gaoth Implications for acoustic goals for vowels? Since front-rounded and backunrounded vowels are so auditorily similar that skilled phoneticians confuse them, we would expect that, if goals were purely acoustic, or auditory, there would be languages in which individual speakers vary as to which of these types they produce. This doesnt appear to be the case.

Further Implications Ladefoged has argued (at various points) for a mixed specification for vowel goals: Rounding is specified articulatorily; Front-back, high-low are specified auditorily. But front-back judgments seem to be dependent on state of lips. McGurk experiment with phoneticians would probably have yielded different front-back judgments depending on lip display. But then in what sense is front-back strictly an auditory (or acoustic) property? Universal phonetic

categories? Careful measurement of segments across languages, initiated by Ladefoged, reveals more distinct types than could contrast in a single language e.g. 8 types of coronal sibilants (Ladefoged, 2005) If phonetic categories (or features) are universal (part of universal grammar), more of them are required than are necessary for lexical contrasts and natural class specification. If phonetic categories are language-specific, then commonalities across languages are not formally captured. How many distinct types?

In some cases, it is not clear it is even possible to identify discrete potential categories. VOT Cho & Ladefoged (1999) Articulatory Phonology Some categories are universal and others are language-specific. This follows from the nature of the constricting actions of the vocal tract and the sounds that they produce. Universal Grammar is not required

to account for universal categories. Gestures and constricting devices Fundamental units of phonology are gestures, vocal tract constriction actions. Gestures control functionally independent constricting devices, or organs. Tongue Tip (TT) Velum

LIPS Glottis Tongue Body (TB) Constrictions of distinct organs count as discrete, potentially contrastive differences. Tongue Root (TR) Universal constriction organs All speakers possess the same constricting

organs. For a communication system to work, gestural actions must be shared by the members of the community (parity). Work on facial mimicry (Meltzoff & Moore, 1997) shows that humans can (very early) identify equivalences between the oro-facial organs of the self and others. Organs as the informational basis of a communication system satisfy parity. Use of one or another organ affords a universal category, while the actions performed are measurable and may differ from lg. to lg. Primacy of between-organ

contrasts: Adult phonology Of course, not all contrasting categories differ in organ employed. However... Between-organ contrasts are common and occur in nearly all languages. While not all withinorgan contrasts are. Within-organ differentiation Constriction gestures of a given organ can be distinguished by the degree and location of the constriction goal. tick sick

thick LP LA lip protrusion lip aperture TBCL TTCL TTCD tongue tp constrict location tongue tip constrict degree VEL

TTCL TTCL TBCD TTCD TTCD Differ in TBCL TBCD tongue body constrict location tongue body constrict degree

VEL velic aperture GLO glottal aperture GLO These parameters are continua. How are they partitioned into categories? LA LP Within-organ categories

Some within-organ categories are universal or nearly so. e.g., constriction degree: stop-fricative-approximant Same categories are employed with multiple organs. Stevens articulator-free features [continuant], [sonorant] Other within-organ categories are language-specific e.g., Ladefogeds 8 phonetic categories for sibilants. Emergence of within-organ

categories through attunement Members of a community attune their actions to one another. Hypothesis: Shared narrow regions of a constriction continuum emerge as a consequence of attunement, thus satisfying parity. Self-organization of phonological units deBoer, 2000 Oudeyer, 2002 Goldstein, 2003 Simulation of attunement with agents Agent 1

Agent 2 ci cj compare and increment probability of c i if they match random choice recover

recover random choice ci cj compare and increment probability of c j if they match Attunement: A simulation Agent 1 QuickTime and a decompressorare needed to see this picture.

Agent 2 Attunement & multiple modes Attunement produces convergence to a narrow range (shared by both agents). Multiple modes along the continuum (potentially contrasting values) can emerge in a similar fashion. Are the modes consistent across repeated simulations (languages)? Answer depends on the mapping from constriction parameter to acoustics. Agents must recover constriction parameters from acoustics.

Constriction-acoustics maps Nature of mapping from constriction parameter to acoustics affects the consistency of modes obtained in simulation. Nonlinear Map (e.g. Stevens, 1989) stable and unstable regions Agents partition relatively consistently. possible Model of Constriction Degree (e.g., TTCD) Linear Map more variability in partitioning possible Model of Constriction Location (e.g., TTCL) coronal sibilants

Simulations Compare simulations with these maps two-agent, two-action simulations 100 times (100 languages) Results fricatives TTCL TTCD retroflex alveolar dental stops

languages contrasting actions distributed over entire range 77% of languages contrast actions that span Organ hypothesis: phonological development Between-organ differences Since neonates can already match organ selection with that of a model, we expect childrens early words to match adult forms in organ employed.

Within-organ differences Since these require attunement and therefore specific experience, we expect that childrens early words will not match the adult forms. Experiment: childrens early words (Goldstein 2003) Materials Recordings of childrens words by BernsteinRatner (1984) from CHILDES database Data from 6 children (age range 1:1 - 1:9). Words with known adult targets were played to judges who classified initial consonants as English consonants.

Based on judges responses, child forms were compared to adult forms in organs employed and within-organ parameter values (CD). Results Oral constriction organ (Lips, TT, TB) For all 6 children, organ in childs production matched the adult target with > chance frequency. Glottis and Velum Some children show significant matching with adult targets, some do not. Constriction Degree (stop, fricative,

glide) No children showed matching with > chance frequency. Evidence from infant speech perception Young infants may not be able to distinguish all adult within-organ categories English /da/-/Da/ (Polka, 2001) Older infants Classic decline in perception of non-native contrasts decline around 10 months of age involve within-organ contrasts retroflex - dental

velar - uvular Between-organ contrasts may not decline in the same way (Best & McRoberts, 2004). The measure of Peters contribution to phonetics Not just the vast amount of knowledge he created or inspired But also what he taught the field of linguistic phonetics about rigor. measurement of data modeling: measurable (testable) consequences of representational hypotheses

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