Carlos Gussenhoven, "Between phonetics and phonology: Of the beast and the untamed savage"

Colloquium | December 3 | 3:10-5 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall

 Carlos Gussenhoven

 Department of Linguistics

Phonetic implementation is the conversion of a surface phonological representation into an acoustic signal that represents a canonical pronunciation. My interest in this talk is in two ways in which speakers can intervene here, one targeting the meaning of the message and the other its phonology. The first, for which Dwight Bolinger’s (1978) ‘untamed savage’ is emblematic, concerns the addition of paralanguage to the meaning expressed by the linguistic structure. Here, I will argue that paralinguistic meaning is not always affective, but is commonly also used for linguistic meanings like interrogativity. I will report results of a categorical perception experiment suggesting that question intonation in a variety of Mandarin is expressed paralinguistically. The second target of speaker intervention is emblematized by Bruce Hayes’ (1989) ‘Beast’, a creature that knows the grammar, while not forming part of it. Incomplete neutralization is one of the effects that it may be responsible for. I will discuss two views of how speakers might intervene in this case. One focuses on traces of what the pronunciation of the underlying form of the derived surface form would have been, like shorter [t] in [bʊnt] from /bʊnd/ ‘union’ than in [bʊnt] from /bʊnt/ ‘colourful’. It predicts that we will see mini-versions of the underlying forms in the phonetics. The other focuses on the existence of a synchronic derivational pass and predicts that neutralized surface forms that have undergone a derivation will be pronounced less confidently than underived neutralizing surface forms. I will report on an investigation of neutralizing tone sandhi in another variety of Mandarin which supports the second view.

 Larry Hyman, CA,