@ the University of Delaware Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science
“Spatially Conditioned Speech Timing: Evidence and Implications” is part of the Frontiers research topic “Models and Theories of Speech Production”. The paper provides evidence that the temporal coordination of articulatory gestures in speech is sensitive to the moment-by-moment location of speech organs (tongue, lips), a result which has implications for mechanisms of speech motor control, including the balance between feed-forward and state-based feedback control.
Patterns of relative timing between consonants and vowels appear to be conditioned in part by phonological structure, such as syllables, a finding captured naturally by the two-level feedforward model of Articulatory Phonology (AP). In AP, phonological form – gestures and the coordination relations between them – receive an invariant description at the inter-gestural level. The inter-articulator level actuates gestures, receiving activation from the inter-gestural level and resolving competing demands on articulators. Within this architecture, the inter-gestural level is blind to the location of articulators in space. A key prediction is that intergestural timing is stable across variation in the spatial position of articulators. We tested this prediction by conducting an Electromagnetic Articulography (EMA) study of Mandarin speakers producing CV monosyllables, consisting of labial consonants and back vowels in isolation. Across observed variation in the spatial position of the tongue body before each syllable, we investigated whether inter-gestural timing between the lips, for the consonant, and the tongue body, for the vowel, remained stable, as is predicted by feedforward control, or whether timing varied with the spatial position of the tongue at the onset of movement. Results indicated a correlation between the initial position of the tongue gesture for the vowel and C-V timing, indicating that inter-gestural timing is sensitive to the position of the articulators, possibly relying on somatosensory feedback. Implications of these results and possible accounts within the Articulatory Phonology framework are discussed.
Shaw, J. A., & Chen, W.-r. (2019). Spatially Conditioned Speech Timing: Evidence and Implications. Frontiers in psychology, 10(2726). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02726
Giving a couple of talks (10/17) and (10/18) at the Institute of Linguistics at National Tsing Hua University as a part of the workshop Exploring Interfaces: Articulatory Phonetics & Phonology.
I’ll be representing a couple of research projects at the Annual Meeting on Phonology (AMP).
Titles and links to abstracts are below:
Poster: Kevin Tang (University of Florida) and Jason Shaw (Yale University). Sentence prosody leaks into the lexicon: evidence from Mandarin Chinese
Talk: Shigeto Kawahara (Keio University), Jason Shaw (Yale University) and Shinichiro Ishihara (Lund University). Do Japanese speakers always prosodically group wh-elements and their licenser? Implications for Richards’ (2010) theory of wh-movement
Title and abstract from colloquium talk at USC, Sept 23, 2019:
The temporal geometry of phonology
Abstract: Languages differ in how the spatial dimensions of the vocal tract, i.e., constriction location/degree, are organized to express phonological form. Languages also differ in temporal geometry, i.e., how sequences of vocal tract constrictions are organized in time. The most comprehensive accounts of temporal organization to date have been developed within the Articulatory Phonology framework, where phonological representations take the form of temporally coordinated action units, known as gestures (Browman & Goldstein, 1986; Gafos & Goldstein, 2012; Goldstein & Pouplier, 2014). A key property of Articulatory Phonology is the feed-forward control of articulation by ensembles of temporally organized gestures.
In this talk, I first make explicit how the temporal geometry of phonology conditions language-specific patterns of phonetic variation. Through computational simulation, I illustrate how distinct temporal geometries for syllable types and segment types (complex segments vs. segment sequences) structure phonetic variation. Model predictions are tested on experimental phonetic data from English (Shaw, Durvasula, & Kochetov, 2019; Shaw & Gafos, 2015), Arabic (Shaw, Gafos, Hoole, & Zeroual, 2011), Japanese (Shaw & Kawahara, 2018) and Russian (Kochetov, 2006; Shaw et al., 2019). Phonological structure formalized as ensembles of local coordination relations between articulatory gestures (Gafos, 2002) and implemented in stochastic models (Gafos, Charlow, Shaw, & Hoole, 2014; Shaw & Gafos, 2015) reliably describes patterns of temporal variation in these languages. These results crucially rely on feed-forward control of gestures. I close with data from Mandarin Chinese which presents a potential challenge to strict feed-forward control. Unexpectedly, inter-gestural coordination in Mandarin appears to be sensitive to the spatial position of articulators—gestures begin earlier in time just when they are farther in space from their target. To account for the Mandarin data, I explore the possibility that gestures are temporal organized according to spatial targets, which requires a combination of feedback and feedforward control, and discuss some implications of the proposal for speech perception and sound change.
Browman, C., & Goldstein, L. (1986). Towards an Articulatory Phonology. Phonology Yearbook, 3, 219-252.
Gafos, Charlow, S., Shaw, J. A., & Hoole, P. (2014). Stochastic time analysis of syllable-referential intervals and simplex onsets. Journal of Phonetics, 44, 152-166.
Gafos, A. (2002). A grammar of gestural coordination. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 20, 269-337.
Gafos, A., & Goldstein, L. (2012). Articulatory representation and organization. In A. C. Cohn, C. Fougeron, & M. K. Huffman (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology (pp. 220-231).
Goldstein, L., & Pouplier, M. (2014). The Temporal Organization of Speech. The Oxford handbook of language production, 210-240.
Kochetov, A. (2006). Syllable position effects and gestural organization: Articulatory evidence from Russian. In L. G. Goldstein, D. H. Whalen, & C. Best (Eds.), Laboratory Phonology 8 (pp. 565-588). Berlin: de Gruyter.
Shaw, J. A., Durvasula, K., & Kochetov, A. 2019. The temporal basis of complex segments. In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 (pp. 676-680). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
Shaw, J. A., & Gafos, A. I. (2015). Stochastic Time Models of Syllable Structure. PLoS One, 10(5), e0124714 0124711-0124736.
Shaw, J. A., Gafos, A. I., Hoole, P., & Zeroual, C. (2011). Dynamic invariance in the phonetic expression of syllable structure: a case study of Moroccan Arabic consonant clusters. Phonology, 28(3), 455-490.
Shaw, J. A., & Kawahara, S. (2018). The lingual articulation of devoiced /u/ in Tokyo Japanese. Journal of Phonetics, 66, 100-119. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2017.09.007
2019 ICPHS proceedings papers are now available online: https://assta.org/proceedings/ICPhS2019/
Mine are also below as pdfs.
Shaw, J. A., Durvasula, K., & Kochetov, A. 2019. The temporal basis of complex segments. In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 (pp. 676-680). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. pdf
+Zhang, M., +Geissler, C., & Shaw, J. A. (2019). Gestural representations of tone in Mandarin: Evidence from timing alternations. In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 (pp. 1803-1807). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. pdf
Shaw, J. A., Best, C. T., Docherty, G., Evans, B., Foulkes, P., Hay, J., & Mulak, K. (2019). An information theoretic perspective on perceptual structure: cross-accent vowel perception. In Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 (pp. 582-586). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. pdf
New paper published open access in: Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology. The full text can be accessed through the DOI at the citation listed below.
Title: Resilience of English vowel perception across regional accent variation
Abstract: In two categorization experiments using phonotactically legal nonce words, we tested Australian English listeners’ perception of all vowels in their own accent as well as in four less familiar regional varieties of English which differ in how their vowel realizations diverge from Australian English: London, Yorkshire, Newcastle (UK), and New Zealand. Results of Experiment 1 indicated that amongst the vowel differences described in sociophonetic studies and attested in our stimulus materials, only a small subset caused greater perceptual difficulty for Australian listeners than for the corresponding Australian English vowels. We discuss this perceptual tolerance for vowel variation in terms of how perceptual assimilation of phonetic details into abstract vowel categories may contribute to recognizing words across variable pronunciations. Experiment 2 determined whether short-term multi-talker exposure would facilitate accent adaptation, particularly for those vowels that proved more difficult to categorize in Experiment 1. For each accent separately, participants listened to a pre-test passage in the nonce word accent but told by novel talkers before completing the same task as in Experiment 1. In contrast to previous studies showing rapid adaptation to talker-specific variation, our listeners’ subsequent vowel assimilations were largely unaffected by exposure to other talkers’ accent-specific variation.
How to Cite: Shaw, J. A., Best, C. T., Docherty, G., Evans, B. G., Foulkes, P., Hay, J., & Mulak, K. E. (2018). Resilience of English vowel perception across regional accent variation. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology,9(1), 11. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/labphon.87
Talk (with Wei-rong Chen) at LabPhon16 – Variation, development and impairment: Between phonetics and phonology
June 19-22, 2018, Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
Title: Variation in the spatial position of articulators influences the relative timing between consonants and vowels: evidence from CV timing in Mandarin Chinese
A new paper, ”Effects of Suprisal and Entropy on vowel duration in Japanese”, is now available online at Language and Speech. The abstract and full citation are below.
Abstract: Research on English and other languages has shown that syllables and words that contain more information tend to be produced with longer duration. This research is evolving into a general thesis that speakers articulate linguistic units with more information more robustly. While this hypothesis seems plausible from the perspective of communicative efficiency, previous support for it has come mainly from English and some other Indo-European languages. Moreover, most previous studies focus on global effects, such as the interaction of word duration and sentential/semantic predictability. The current study is focused at the level of phonotactics, exploring the effects of local predictability on vowel duration in Japanese, using the Corpus of Spontaneous Japanese. To examine gradient consonant-vowel phonotactics within a consonant-vowel-mora, consonant-conditioned Surprisal and Shannon Entropy were calculated, and their effects on vowel duration were examined, together with other linguistic factors that are known from previous research to affect vowel duration. Results show significant effects of both Surprisal and Entropy, as well as notable interactions with vowel length and vowel quality. The effect of Entropy is stronger on peripheral vowels than on central vowels. Surprisal has a stronger positive effect on short vowels than on long vowels. We interpret the main patterns and the interactions by conceptualizing Surprisal as an index of motor fluency and Entropy as an index of competition in vowel selection.
Citation: Shaw, J. A., & Kawahara, S. (2017). Effects of Surprisal and Entropy on vowel duration in Japanese. Language and speech, 0023830917737331, 1-35. pdf
In Tokyo Japanese, /u/ is typically devoiced between two voiceless consonants. Whether the lingual vowel gesture is influenced by devoicing or present at all in devoiced vowels remains an open debate, largely because relevant articulatory data has not been available. We report ElectroMagnetic Articulography (EMA) data that addresses this question. We analyzed both the trajectory of the tongue dorsum across VC1uC2V sequences as well as the timing of C1 and C2. These analyses provide converging evidence that /u/ in devoicing contexts is optionally targetless—the lingual gesture is either categorically present or absent but seldom reduced. When present, the magnitude of the lingual gesture in devoiced /u/ is comparable to voiced vowel counterparts. Although all speakers produced words with and without a vowel height target for /u/, the frequency of targetlessness varied across speakers and items. The timing between C1 and C2, the consonants flanking /u/ was also effected by devoicing but to varying degrees across items. The items with the greatest effect of devoicing on this inter-consonantal interval were also the items with the highest frequency of vowel height targetlessness for devoiced /u/.
Shaw, J. A., & Kawahara, S. (2018). The lingual articulation of devoiced/u/in Tokyo Japanese. Journal of Phonetics, 66, 100-119.