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Phonetic effects of morphology and context: Modeling the duration of word-final S in English with naïve discriminative learning

  • FABIAN TOMASCHEK (a1), INGO PLAG (a2), MIRJAM ERNESTUS (a3) and R. HARALD BAAYEN (a1)

Abstract

Recent research on the acoustic realization of affixes has revealed differences between phonologically homophonous affixes, e.g. the different kinds of final [s] and [z] in English (Plag, Homann & Kunter 2017, Zimmermann 2016a). Such results are unexpected and unaccounted for in widely accepted post-Bloomfieldian item-and-arrangement models (Hockett 1954), which separate lexical and post-lexical phonology, and in models which interpret phonetic effects as consequences of different prosodic structure. This paper demonstrates that the differences in duration of English final S as a function of the morphological function it expresses (non-morphemic, plural, third person singular, genitive, genitive plural, cliticized has, and cliticized is) can be approximated by considering the support for these morphological functions from the words’ sublexical and collocational properties. We estimated this support using naïve discriminative learning and replicated previous results for English vowels (Tucker, Sims & Baayen 2019), indicating that segment duration is lengthened under higher functional certainty but shortened under functional uncertainty. We discuss the implications of these results, obtained with a wide learning network that eschews representations for morphemes and exponents, for models in theoretical morphology as well as for models of lexical processing.

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      Phonetic effects of morphology and context: Modeling the duration of word-final S in English with naïve discriminative learning
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author’s address: Universität Tübingen, Wilhelmstrasse 19-23, 72072 Tübingen, Germanyfabian.tomaschek@uni-tuebingen.de
Author’s address: Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstrasse 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germanyingo.plag@uni-duesseldorf.de
Author’s address: Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9103, 6500 HD Nijmegen, The Netherlandsm.ernestus@let.ru.nl
Author’s address: Universität Tübingen, Wilhelmstrasse 19-23, 72072 Tübingen, Germanyharald.baayen@uni-tuebingen.de

Footnotes

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We are thankful to three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. The paper also profited from the feedback of the members of the audiences at UC Berkeley 2017, International Symposium of Morphology Lille 2017, 40. DGfS-Jahrestagung Stuttgart 2018, Mental Lexicon Conference Edmonton 2018. This study is part of an ongoing collaboration within the DFG Research Unit FOR2373 ‘Spoken Morphology’. We are very grateful to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for funding this research (Grants: BA 3080/3-1 ‘The articulation of morphologically complex words’ to Harald Baayen; PL151/8-1 ‘Morpho-phonetic Variation in English’ to Ingo Plag and Mirjam Ernestus; PL151/7-1 ‘FOR 2737 Spoken Morphology: Central Project’ to Ingo Plag).

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Journal of Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0022-2267
  • EISSN: 1469-7742
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-linguistics
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