Mind, Technology, and Society Talk Series

Speaker:
Andries Coetzee
Associate Professor, University of Michigan
Time/Date: 3-4:30 p.m. Monday, November 23, 2015

Location:
Chancellor’s Conference Room, KL 232

Title:
Modeling phonological variation

Abstract:

Existing approaches to phonological variation differ in the role that they ascribe to grammar. Some assume no role for grammar, considering variation as the result of non-grammatical factors impacting the categorical output of phonological grammar. Others assume that grammar and non-grammatical factors contribute equally to variation. Yet others attempt to account for all aspects of variation with grammar alone, allowing no room for non-grammatical factors. In this talk, I will develop a fourth possible model with the following features: (i) Grammar itself is variable and hence contributes to variation. (ii) Non-grammatical factors also contribute. (iii) But the model is grammar dominant – grammar defines the space of possible variation and non-grammatical factors can only influence how variation is realized within this grammar-delimited variable space. The model will be implemented in Harmonic Grammar, and will be applied to English variable t/d-deletion (west bank~wes_ bank),variable cross-word nasal place assimilation (green boat~greem boat), and variable devoicing of Afrikaans plosives, focusing on the interaction of grammar with factors such as usage frequency, speech rate, and communicative context.

Suggested reading:

Coetzee, Andries W. & Shigeto Kawahara. (2013) Frequency biases in phonological variation. NLLT 31:47-89.

Bio:

 

His website is https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/coetzee/.