Andrés Buxó-Lugo @ prosodylab

On Wed November 13 Andrés Buxó-Lugo (University of Maryland) will present on his research in the prosodylab-meeting (10.30am-11.30am) in Room 117 in Linguistics (1085 Dr. Penfield Avenue).


Andrés Buxó-Lugo (University of Maryland) :

The world is not enough to explain lengthening of phonological competitors

Speakers tend to lengthen words when a phonologically overlapping word has recently been produced. Although there are multiple accounts of why lengthening occurs, all of these accounts generally assume that competition at some point in the production-comprehension process leads to lengthening. In a series of experiments, we investigated what contexts lead to competition and consequent lengthening of target word duration. In two experiments, we manipulated the contexts in which a target word is produced. Speakers produced simple descriptions of animations involving referents that shared initial phonology with another potential referent (e.g., beetle and beaker). We manipulated whether the related referent (i.e. beetle) was named by the speaker themselves, by another person, or was unmentioned, and compared target word durations (i.e. beaker) in these conditions to the condition in which the related word was absent. In both experiments, we found that lengthening does not occur whenever two referents are in the display that could be confused, even when it is clear that they are confusable. Instead, speakers only lengthened target words when the speaker or another person had named the phonologically related word out loud. In a third experiment, we manipulated whether a previously mentioned referent was relevant to the present event. We found that speakers lengthened phonologically related words even when a referent was no longer relevant to the current event. We discuss the implications of these findings for existing and new theories of language production.


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new paper on focus and phrasing

Wagner, Michael and McAuliffe, Michael (2019). The effect of focus prominence on phrasing. Journal of Phonetics 77. [doi] [preprint]


Prosody simultaneously encodes different kinds of information about an utterance, including the type of speech act (which, in English, often affects the choice of intonational tune), the syntactic constituent structure (which mainly affects prosodic phrasing), and the location of semantic focus (which mainly affects the relative prosodic prominence between words). The syntactic and semantic functional dimensions (speech act, constituency, focus) are orthogonal to each other, but to which extent their prosodic correlates are remains controversial. This paper reports on a production experiment that crosses these three dimensions to look for interactions, concentrating on interactions between focus prominence and phrasing. The results provide evidence that interactions are more limited than many current theories of sentence prosody would predict, and support a theory that keeps different prosodic dimensions representationally separate.

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new paper on hierarchy effects

Keine, Stefan, Michael Wagner, and JessicaCoon, (2019). Hierarchy effects in copula constructions. Canadian Journal of Linguistics. [doi]

This paper develops a generalization about agreement in German copula constructions described in Coon et al. (2017), and proposes an analysis that ties it to other well-established hierarchy phenomena. Specifically, we show that “assumed-identity” copula constructions in German exibit both person and number hierarchy effects, and that these extend beyond the “non-canonical” or “inverse” agreement patterns described in previous work on copula constructions (e.g., Béjar and Kahnemuyipour 2017 and works cited there). We present experimental evidence to support this generalization, and then develop an account that unifies it with hierarchy phenomena in other languages, with a focus on PCC effects. Specifically, we propose that what German copula constructions have in common with PCC environments is that there are multiple accessible DPs in the domain of a single agreement probe, the lower of which is more featurally specified than the higher (see, e.g., Béjar and Rezac 2003, 2009; Anagnostopoulou 2005; Nevins 2007). We also offer an explanation as to why number effects are present in German copula constructions but notably absent in PCC effects. We then place our account within the broader context of constraints on predication structures.

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toward a bestiary of intonational tunes

Slides of a colloquium talk at Northwestern University, reporting on joint work with Dan Goodhue:

Toward a Bestiary of the Intonational Tunes of English
What is the inventory of tunes of North American English? What do particular tunes contribute to the pragmatic and semantic import of an utterance? How reliably are certain conversational goals and intentions associated with the use of particular tunes? While English intonation is well-studied, the answers to these questions still remain preliminary. We present the results of scripted experiments that complement existing knowledge by providing some data on what tunes speakers use to accomplish particular conversational goals, and how likely particular choices are. This research complements studies of the meaning and form of individual contours, which often do not explore alternative prosodic and other means to achieve a certain conversational goal; and it complements more exploratory research based on speech corpora, which offer a rich field for exploring which contours are generally out there, but are limited in that the true intentions of the speaker are often underdetermined by the context.

Our studies focus on three types of conversational goals, the goal to contradict (‘Intended Contradiction’), the goal to imply something indirectly (‘Intended Implication’), or to express incredulity (‘Intended Incredulity’). We looked at these three intents since their expression has been linked in the prior literature with the use of three particular rising contours: the Contradiction Contour (Liberman & Sag, 1974;  Ladd, 1980;  Ward & Hirschberg, 1985; Goodhue & Wagner 2018), the Rise-Fall-rise Contour (Ward & Hirschberg, 1985; Constant, 2012; Wagner, 2012), and the incredulity contour (Hirschberg & Ward, 1992). The results show a large extent of consistency in which strategies speaker choose to enact certain intentions, but also interesting variation. Especially the act of contradicting offers a rich set of intonational choices, and the observed data raises several challenges to our current understanding of how intonation works.

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allophonic variation and the locality of production planning

Colloquium talk at University of Maryland: Slides

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toronto intonation workshop

Slides on the intonational bestiary at the 4th Intonation Workshop at University of Toronto, reporting on joint work with Dan Goodhue

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semdial 2018 talk

Here are the slides of a talk on the intonational bestiary at the Workshop on Prosody and meaning at SemDial in Aix en Provence (also presented at Linguae in Paris on Nov 7), reporting on joint work with Dan Goodhue

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new paper about the processing of relative clauses

Andrea Santi, Nino Grillo, Emilia Molimpakis & Michael Wagner (2018) Processing relative clauses across comprehension and production: similarities and differences, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2018.1513539

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new paper on light vs. dark [l]

Mackenzie, Sara, Erin Olson, Meghan Clayards, and Michael Wagner (2018). North American /l/ both darkens and lightens depending on prosodic context. Laboratory Phonology, 9(1)(13)

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dan goodhue to maryland

Daniel Goodhue, who defended his thesis this February, has recently accepted a postdoctoral position in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland. He will be working with Dr. Valentine Hacquard and Dr. Jeffrey Lidz at the intersection of semantics and language acquisition. The position begins in August 2018.

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