The Department of Linguistics is proud to announce that Professor Pam Beddor’s 2009 paper A Coarticulatory Path to Sound Change is among the articles selected for inclusion in Volume III of the Language Anthology--a collection of the 20 best articles published in the journal Language between 1986 and 2016. The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) announced the release of Volume III of the Language Anthology on February 11.

The third volume in the series "The Best of Language," covers volumes 62-92 of the LSA’s flagship journal. This volume complements Volumes I and II, which were released in 2012. This three-volume anthology presents the very best, and most important and influential articles, from the first ninety-plus years of the journal, as selected by the editors of Language, present and former, among them Professors Sally Thomason and Andries Coetzee.

Congratulations, Professor Beddor!


A Coarticulatory Path to Sound Change

By Patrice Speeter Beddor

Although coarticulatory variation is largely systematic, and serves as useful information for listeners, such variation is nonetheless linked to sound change. This article explores the articulatory and perceptual interactions between a coarticulatory source and its effects, and how these interactions likely contribute to change. The focus is on the historical change VN (phonetically, ṼN) > Ṽ, but with more general attention to how a gesture associated with a source segment comes to be reinterpreted as distinctively, rather than coarticulatorily, associated with a nearby vowel or consonant. Two synchronic factors are hypothesized to contribute to reinterpretation: (i) articulatory covariation between the duration of the coarticulatory source (here, N) and the temporal extent of its effects (Ṽ), and (ii) perceived equivalence between source and effect. Experimental support for both hypotheses is provided. Additionally, the experimental data are linked to the historical situation by showing that the contextual conditions that trigger (i) and (ii) parallel the conditions that historically influence phonologization of vowel nasalization.