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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 10, 2018

Loci and locality of informational effects on phonetic implementation

Robert Daland EMAIL logo and Kie Zuraw
From the journal Linguistics Vanguard


Recent evidence suggests that the phonetic realization of linguistic units is sensitive to informational context. For example, the duration of a word is shorter when it is probable given the following word. Word-specific phonetic variation is unexpected according to modular/feedforward models. We consider various challenges to identifying the loci of informational effects on phonetic implementation – do they arise in production, perception, memory, or some combination? Section 2 addresses a theoretical issue: what are the right measure(s) of predictability/informativity? An urgent direction for future work is to understand what kinds of context matter and why. Section 3 reviews second-mention reduction and other non-local discourse effects, which strongly suggest a production locus (rather than arising in speech perception or memory). Important future directions include modeling discourse/topic in corpus studies, and experimentally assessing the role of nonlocal context in perception and memory. Section 4 addresses the role of computational modeling. We call for integrated, implemented end-to-end models which include speech perception, lexical representation, and speech production components.


We wish to acknowledge Shigeto Kawahara and an anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful critique of a previous version of this manuscript.


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Received: 2017-05-05
Accepted: 2018-01-02
Published Online: 2018-08-10

©2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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