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Phondi: Jon Yip presents

Friday, February 22, 2013
12:00 AM
473 Lorch Hall

Linguistics effects on gestural-coordination timing in Greek CC sequences

Jon Yill will present in Phondi today. His presentation will report on the results of his ongoing dissertation research. The title and abstract of his presentation are given below.

Linguistics effects on gestural-coordination timing in Greek CC sequences

Kinematic measures of the relative timing of articulatory movements in the production of consonant clusters in several languages have revealed systematic patterns of articulatory overlap.  Specifically, CC sequences exhibit greater overlap between labial and lingual constrictions (1) for front-to-back clusters (e.g., [bg]) than back-to-front clusters (e.g. [gd]; Chitoran et al., 2002; Chitoran & Goldstein, 2006), and (2) for stop-lateral clusters (e.g., [pl]) than for stop-stop clusters ([pt] or [pn]; Chitoran & Cohn, 2009; Kühnert et al., 2006). The source of these timing patterns is of importance to theories of speech production, and to theories of the relation between production and perception:  Is overlap primarily constrained by biomechanical factors, such as constraints on the coordination of the oral articulators, or by perceptual factors, such as the use of production timing strategies to improve perceptual recoverability?

This study of Modern Greek speakers’ CC productions investigates the effects of place order (front-to-back, back-to-front), C1 manner (plosive, fricative), and C2 manner (plosive, fricative, lateral) on gestural overlap.  Using a combination of ultrasound imaging and lip-camera video, I collected articulatory data on lip, tongue tip, and tongue dorsum movements for clusters [pt ps pl ft kt ks kl xt] and measured gestural overlap in terms of the duration of lag between the release of C1 and the achievement of C2.  A perceptual recoverability account predicts that lingual gestures should overlap less in, for example, [kt] than in [ks] or [kl] because the acoustic release of [k] should be masked more by overlap with complete closure ([t]) than partial closure ([s] or [l]); similarly, differences in acoustic masking mean that gestures should overlap less in [kt] (back-to-front) than [pt] (front-to-back).  Alternatively, the biomechanical account simply predicts that the interdependent lingual (tongue tip and dorsum) gestures in [kt ks kl xt] (back-to-front) should overlap less than the separate labial and tongue tip gestures in [pt ps pl ft] (front-to-back) and that variation in overlap due to differences in C1 or C2 manner should be relatively small.

For all speakers, the lag between C1 and C2 was significantly greater in back-to-front sequences than front-to-back sequences.  In terms of interaction effects between place order and manner, results show two patterns across speakers.  For half of the speakers, the order of place do not interact with manner.  However, the other half of the speakers produced the opposite of the expected interaction effect predicted by the perceptual hypothesis; that is, C1-release-to-C2-achievement lag is actually greater in [pt] than in [ps pl] but not greater in [kt] than in [ks kl].  These results for gestural overlap are easily explained by a biomechanical approach to gestural timing and cast doubt on the possibility that gestural timing between consonants (at least in Modern Greek) is readily explained in terms of perceptual recoverability.