KOCHETOV-2002-Production Perception and Phonotactic Patterns Palatalization

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    Production, perception, and emergent phonotactic patterns:

    A case of contrastive palatalization

    Doctor of PhilosophyAlexei Kochetov

    Department of Linguistics

    University of Toronto

    The goal of this thesis is to answer two related questions: (i) to what extent can limitations of human

    speech production and perception explain cross-linguistic positional markedness asymmetries? and (ii)

    is it logically necessary to attribute these scales to Universal Grammar, as is commonly assumed (e.g.,

    Prince & Smolensky 1993)?

    In order to answer these questions, a case study involving the distribution of the plain-palatalized

    contrast in labial and coronal stops was carried out. A typological survey of languages with contrastive

    palatalization shows that the distinction between plain and palatalized segments is most often

    maintained in the syllable onset position and most commonly neutralized in the preconsonantal coda

    environment. Palatalized labials are more susceptible to neutralization than the palatalized coronals. The

    most common outcome of neutralization is a plain segment.

    In a number of articulatory, acoustic, and perceptual experiments I investigate Russian plain and

    palatalized stops in cross word-boundary sequences. The articulatory study reveals that the

    environments that generally induce neutralization exhibit the most variability in the magnitude and

    timing of the tongue body gesture, the articulatory correlate of the plain-palatalized contrast. They also

    show that that the effect of environment is different for palatalized labial and coronals. In addition, the

    variable overlap of primary gestures has important acoustic consequences: it results in the lack of

    acoustic release burst of the first consonant and less distinct vocalic transitions.

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    The perceptual findings from both native and non-native subjects under several conditions demonstrate

    that listeners reliably distinguish the contrast in the contexts when the respective gestures are stable (as

    in syllable onset), and fail to hear it in the environments that induce gestural variability (syllable coda,

    especially before consonants).

    The results of perception, taken as derived scales, serve as input to a hypothetical learner constructing

    language-particular grammars. Crucially, the learner is not equipped with positional markedness scales.

    Limitations on what can or cannot be recovered severely restrict the learning path, ultimately resulting in

    a limited set of possible grammars that correspond to the attested cross-linguistic patterns of contrastive

    palatalization.

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    Acknowledgements

    This thesis could not have been possible without the support of many individuals. First and foremost, Iwish to express my deep gratitude to Keren Rice, the best thesis advisor and teacher I could have wishedfor. Her constant encouragement and advice since my first year in the department fostered my interest inphonology, kept me focused and enthusiastic about the topic, and helped me in getting things done. Heralways amazingly prompt and insightful feedback was instrumental in the completion of this thesis.

    I also wish to thank the other members of my thesis committee Elan Dresher, Hank Rogers, RonSmyth, and Joseph Schallert for their time, effort, and exceptional advice on the various aspects ofthis research project, not to mention their help with the style and grammar of the thesis.

    I would like to express appreciation to Louis Goldstein for his crucial assistance with the articulatoryexperiments at Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT. I have benefited greatly from our manydiscussions and from his inspirational course on Articulatory Phonology at Yale University. I wish tothank Elizabeth Hume, who acted as an external appraiser, for many insightful comments andsuggestions. Bill Idsardi provided invaluable advice at the earlier stages of the thesis. I have alsobenefited from discussions of parts of the work at meeting of the University of Toronto PhonologyProject, as well as from various comments and questions from Peter Avery, Christina Bethin, EdBurstynsky, Adamantios Gafos, Daniel Hall, David Odden, John Ohala, Janet Pierrehumbert, GlynePiggott, Charles Reiss, Milan Rezac, Daniel Silverman, Donca Steriade, Caro Struijke, and Lisa Zsiga,among others.

    My doctoral studies, experiments, fieldwork, and conference presentations would not have been possiblewithout fellowship and grant funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council ofCanada, the University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies, and the Department Graduate ResearchGrants to Keren Rice, Elan Dresher, and Hank Rogers. I am also grateful to the many individuals whoprovided invaluable assistance of various kinds with experiments and presentation of the results: LarissaChen, Nila Friedberg, Linda Heijmans, Catherine Kitto, Maho Kobayashi, Marianne Pouplier, MichelleSancier, Mark Tiede, Jeff Weihing, and Patrick Wong. I appreciate the assistance I received from IrinaRusinova and Tatyana Permyakova of Perm University during my fieldtrip to the northern Urals,Russia. Many thanks to Jack Chambers for helping me materialize some of the results of the fieldtrip.

    I would like to show appreciation to all fellow graduate students who shared with me the ups and downsof the graduate life. In particular, I am thankful to Luba Butska, Juli Cebrian, Naomi Cull, NilaFriedberg, Carrie Gillon, Catherine Kitto, Nicole Rosen, and Carolyn Smallwood for many great parties,outings, and just fun. Spasibo! Thanks also to my extra-linguistic friends, Jeff and Eileen Anderson,Vladimir Smetanin and Debbie Ehrlich, Tom and Mary LeClerc, Andriy Luchkovsky and AtsukoTakebayashi, Li-Lin Tseng, and to my friends from ISM and JCSA.

    Moreover, I am indebted to my parents Rudolf and Lydia and to my sister Elena, who throughout mylife have always been there to offer encouragement and support.

    Finally, I am grateful to my wife, Maho, for her love, laughter, and patience. This thesis is dedicated toher.

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    Table of contents

    CHAPTER 1. FOUNDATIONS ....................................................................................... 1

    1.0 Introduction.................................................................................................................................................... 1

    1.1 Articulation gestures, production, and perception............. ............. .............. ............. ............. ............. ......... 2

    1.2 Neutralization................................................................................................................................................. 5

    1.3 Hypothesis and experiments........................................................................................................................... 9

    CHAPTER 2. PHONOTACTIC PATTERNS OF PALATALIZATION ........................... 11

    2.0 Introduction.................................................................................................................................................. 11

    2.1 Cross-linguistic patterns of contrastive palatalization................................................................................. 12

    2.2 Phonotactics of Russian contrastive palatalization...................................................................................... 40

    CHAPTER 3. AN ACOUSTIC STUDY: BURSTS AND TRANSITIONS....................... 59

    3.0 Introduction.................................................................................................................................................. 59

    3.1 Previous work on Russian plain and palatalized consonants ............. ............. ............. ............. .............. .... 59

    3.2 Acoustic experiments: ............. ............. .............. ............. ............. ............. ............. .............. ............. ........... 60

    /t/ vs. /t/ in final and preconsonantal position............... ............. .............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ..... 60

    3.3 Materials and procedure.............................................................................................................................. 60

    3.4 Analysis ........................................................................................................................................................ 61

    3.5 Experiment 1: Duration ............ ............. .............. ............. ............. ............. ............. .............. ............. ......... 62

    3.6 Experiment 2: Second formant of the vowel................................................................................................ 69

    3.7 Experiment 3: Burst spectra ............ ............. .............. ............ .............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ... 75

    3.8 Summary ............. ............. .............. ............. ............. ............. ............. .............. ............. ............. ............. ..... 78

    CHAPTER 4. ACOUSTIC CHARACTERISTICS AND PERCEP