The evolution of auditory contrast

This paper reconciles the standpoint that language users do not aim at improving their sound systems with the observation that languages seem to improve their sound systems. Computer simulations of inventories of sibilan
This paper reconciles the standpoint that language users do not aim at improving their sound systems with the observation that languages seem to improve their sound systems. Computer simulations of inventories of sibilants show that Optimality-Theoretic learners who optimize their perception grammars automatically introduce a so-called prototype effect, i.e. the phenomenon that the learner’s preferred auditory realization of a certain phonological category is more peripheral than the average auditory realization of this category in her language environment. In production, however, this prototype effect is counteracted by an articulatory effect that limits the auditory form to something that is not too difficult to pronounce. If the prototype effect and the articulatory effect are of a different size, the learner must end up with an auditorily different sound system from that of her language environment. The computer simulations show that, independently of the initial auditory sound system, a stable equilibrium is reached within a small number of generations. In this stable state, the dispersion of the sibilants of the language strikes an optimal balance between articulatory ease and auditory contrast. The important point is that this is derived within a model without any goal-oriented elements such as dispersion constraints.
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Metadaten
Author:Silke Hamann, Paul Boersma
URN:urn:nbn:de:hebis:30-1133548
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2009/10/01
Year of first Publication:2007
Publishing Institution:Univ.-Bibliothek Frankfurt am Main
Release Date:2009/10/01
SWD-Keyword:Phonetik
Source:http://user.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/~hamann/BoersmaHamann2007.pdf ; (in:) Rutgers Optimality Archive. - New Jersey: 2007, S. 909-0407
HeBIS PPN:219011877
Dewey Decimal Classification:400 Sprache
Sammlungen:Linguistik
Linguistic-Classification:Linguistik-Klassifikation: Phonetik/Phonologie / Phonetics/Phonology
Licence (German):License Logo Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen

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