School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    Australia and New Guinea
    Baker, B ; Donohue, M ; Fletcher, J ; Gussenhoven, C ; Chen, A (Oxford University Press, 2021)

    This handbook presents detailed accounts of current research in all aspects of language prosody, with chapters written by leading experts from various disciplines. The last four decades have seen major theoretical and empirical breakthroughs in the field, many of them informed by interdisciplinary approaches, as reflected in this volume. Following an introductory chapter covering the fundamentals of language prosody research, Parts II and III explore prosody in speech production and in relation to linguistic structure. Part IV provides overviews of prosodic systems across the world, with case studies from Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and the Pacific, and the Americas. The chapters in Parts V, VI, and VII investigate prosody in communication, in language processing, and in language acquisition (respectively), while Part VIII examines prosody in technology and the arts.

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    The genetic position of Anindilyakwa
    van Egmond, M-E ; Baker, B (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-03-30)
    In this paper, we demonstrate that Anindilyakwa, spoken on Groote Eylandt, East Arnhem Land, is genetically closely related to Wubuy (Gunwinyguan). Anindilyakwa has long been believed to be a family-level isolate, but by a rigorous application of the Comparative Method we uncover regular sound correspondences from lexical correspondence sets, reconstruct the sound system of the proto-language, and suggest how the proto-phoneme inventory derives from the proto-Gunwinyguan system through phonological innovations. Although it has been hinted before that Anindilyakwa and Wubuy are related and together with Ngandi form a subgroup, this hypothesis is not borne out here: while Wubuy and Ngandi have been shown to share a significant amount of core vocabulary and irregular verbal paradigms, Anindilyakwa and Wubuy appear to have undergone separate development for a considerable length of time. Moreover, Anindilyakwa has independently undergone extensive further sound changes, resulting in a language that is phonologically (though not lexically or grammatically) quite unusual in Australia.
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    Japanese Vowel Devoicing Modulates Perceptual Epenthesis
    Kilpatrick, A ; Kawahara, S ; Bundgaard-Nielsen, R ; Baker, B ; Fletcher, J ; Epps, J ; Wolfe, J ; Jones, C (Australian Speech Science and Technology Association, 2018)
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    Pause acceptability indicates word-internal structure in Wubuy
    Bundgaard-Nielsen, RL ; Baker, BJ (Elsevier BV, 2020-05)
    Words in polysynthetic languages, such as the Australian language Wubuy, can be semantically complex and translate into whole phrases in analytic languages such as English. This raises questions about whether such words are like words in English, or whether they are more like phrases. In the following, we examine Wubuy speakers' knowledge of word-internal morphological complexity in a word-preference task, in which we test the acceptability of complex words into which artificial pauses have been embedded at a range of morphological junctures. The results show that participants prefer unmodified words and words with pauses inserted at semantically transparent morphological junctures over words with pauses at other junctures. There is no preference for unmodified words over words with pauses at transparent junctures. These results suggest that speakers have access to some word-internal morphological information, and that complex words may share characteristics of both words and phrases in, for instance, English.
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    Predictability, Word Frequency and Japanese Perceptual Epenthesis
    Kilpatrick, A ; Kawahara, S ; Bundgaard-Nielsen, R ; Baker, B ; Fletcher, J ; Calhoun, S ; Escudero, P ; TABAIN, M ; Warren, P (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc., 2019)
    Speakers typically invest less effort in the articulation of sounds and words that are highly predictable from their contexts. Recent research reveals a perceptual corollary to this behaviour, showing that listeners pay less attention to acoustic signal in predictable contexts. The present paper expands on this finding by testing the acceptability and discriminability of sequences of speech with varying levels of predictability. Stimuli are contrast pairs and are either phonotactically attested or else contain an illicit nonhomorganic consonant cluster. Such clusters violate Japanese phonotactics and have been found to elicit perceptual epenthesis in Japanese listeners. The results show that unattested consonant clusters are perceived as more acceptable in high-frequency sequences than in low-frequency sequences.
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    Acoustic correlates of lexical stress in Wubuy
    Baker, B ; Bundgaard-Nielsen, R ; Babinski, S ; Fletcher, J ; Calhoun, S ; Escudero, P ; TABAIN, M ; Warren, P (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc., 2019)
    We examined the acoustic correlates of lexical stress in the non-Pama-Nyungan language Wubuy (Northern Territory, Australia). We tested two hypotheses about stress: that stress is determined by (1) a combination of syllable position in prosodic word and quantity sensitivity, or (2) by position alone. To test these hypotheses, we elicited trisyllabic noun roots differing in position of heavy syllables in frame-final environments from 3 speakers. We found that both position and predicted stress based on prior phonological descriptions could account for many correlates (segment and syllable duration, f0, intensity, vowel formants) although overall syllable position appeared to account for more of the variance.
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    Discrimination of Multiple Coronal Stop Contrasts in Wubuy (Australia): A Natural Referent Consonant Account
    Bundgaard-Nielsen, RL ; Baker, BJ ; Kroos, CH ; Harvey, M ; Best, CT ; Schiller, NO (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-12-03)
    Native speech perception is generally assumed to be highly efficient and accurate. Very little research has, however, directly examined the limitations of native perception, especially for contrasts that are only minimally differentiated acoustically and articulatorily. Here, we demonstrate that native speech perception may indeed be more difficult than is often assumed, where phonemes are highly similar, and we address the nature and extremes of consonant perception. We present two studies of native and non-native (English) perception of the acoustically and articulatorily similar four-way coronal stop contrast /t ʈ [symbol: see text] ȶ/ (apico-alveolar, apico-retroflex, lamino-dental, lamino-alveopalatal) of Wubuy, an indigenous language of Australia. The results show that all listeners find contrasts involving /ȶ/ easy to discriminate, but that, for both groups, contrasts involving /t ʈ [symbol: see text]/ are much harder. Where the two groups differ, the results largely reflect native language (Wubuy vs English) attunement as predicted by the Perceptual Assimilation Model. We also observe striking perceptual asymmetries in the native listeners' perception of contrasts involving the latter three stops, likely due to the differences in input frequency. Such asymmetries have not previously been observed in adults, and we propose a novel Natural Referent Consonant Hypothesis to account for the results.
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    Native prosodic systems and learning experience shape production of non-native tones
    Wu, M ; Fletcher, J ; Bundgaard-Nielsen, R ; Baker, B ; BARNES, J ; VEILLEUX, N ; SHATTUCK-HUFNAGEL, S ; BRUGOS, A (ISCA, 2016)
    This study investigates how native prosodic systems and second language (L2) learning experience shape non-native tone production. Speakers from tone language backgrounds (native Cantonese and Mandarin speakers [CS & MS]) and non-tone language backgrounds (English monolinguals [ES] and English speakers with Mandarin learning experience [EM]) produced the six Cantonese tones in an imitation task. The results suggest systematic effects of native prosodic systems on L2 tone production, regardless of tone or non-tone language backgrounds. MS have more problems with pitch height whereas ES tend to produce every tone in a level shape, which echoes the findings from previous perception studies. Further, MS’s ability to integrate their native sensitivity to pitch height, along with their Mandarin training in pitch contour, contributes to their exceptional performance in producing the new tone language. Importantly, EM speakers performed better than MS speakers, suggesting that L1 experience with tone may be less helpful to learners than L2 tone acquisition experience, even when this L2 experience is with a different tone language (here Mandarin).
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    Perception of Cantonese tones by Mandarin speakers
    Wu, M ; Bundgaard-Nielsen, R ; BAKER, B ; Best, C ; Fletcher, J ; The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015, (International Phonetics Association, 2015)
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    The vowel inventory of Roper Kriol
    Bundgaard-Nielsen, R ; BAKER, B ; The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015, (International Phonetics Association, 2015)