NELS 40 - phonological similarity

@ mit




Program now available!

Invited speaker: Keith Johnson (UC Berkeley)

Recent work has shown the significance of a psychoacoustic concept of phonetic similarity in phonological grammar. Similarity effects are seen both in syntagmatic and paradigmatic domains. Syntagmatically, OCP effects have been analyzed as a dispreference for combinations of highly similar sounds within a phonological domain (Pierrehumbert 1993; Frisch et al. 2004; Coetzee and Pater 2008). Paradigmatic similarity has also been proposed to explain phonological patterns. The P-map hypothesis (Steriade 2001) evokes similarity between corresponding input and output forms to explain why certain unfaithful mappings are favored over others. In the Dispersion Theory of Contrast (Flemming 1995, 2004), forms and segments in the output are evaluated for their relative similarity. The question for phonology is in what way the physiological and psychoacoustic similarity of different speech sounds relates to the grammaticality of different structures in a given language.

We invite submissions concerned with teasing apart the different types of similarity effects in language and whether and how they relate to the perceptual and articulatory basis of similarity in speech. Submissions may address how similarity is defined and computed as well as how similarity is referenced and formalized in the grammar. The broader goal of this workshop is to gain a better understanding of how psycholinguistic and phonetic notions relate to grammar cross-linguistically.

We invite submissions for 20 minute talks, with 10 minutes reserved for discussion. Abstracts should be sent in PDF format to, with the subject line “abstract”. Abstracts should be anonymous; contact information (name, title of the abstract, affiliation and email address) should be included in the email but not in the abstracts. Abstracts should conform to the general NELS guidelines – 2 pages, 1-inch margins, no smaller than 11 pt font, references included, examples should be embedded in the text and not appear on a separate page.

The deadline for submissions to this workshop is August 21st, 2009.

Phonological Similarity:

Perceptual and Articulatory Bases and Links to Grammatical Mechanisms