Linguistics Department

Colloquium - Andrés Buxó-Lugo (University of Maryland)

The beetle and beakerrr: What word durations reveal about language production processes

Mon, January 27, 2020 | RLP 1.302E

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Language production is a dynamic process where many factors come together to ultimately shape the acoustic form of a message. One of the challenge in language production research is deciphering which factors affect the message and how. In this talk I will be presenting recent work on how phonological overlap between words affects the phonetic form of these words in production. Specifically, I will focus on why producing phonologically overlapping words results in lengthening (e.g., speakers lengthen “beaker” if they have recently produced “beetle”). First, I propose a computational model of word production that makes specific predictions about when speakers should lengthen words. The model predicts that words with word-initial phonological overlap should be lengthened more than words with word-final overlap, and that most of the lengthening should occur in the non-overlapping parts of the word. I will present a study designed to test the predictions from this model. Then, I discuss three experiments that focus on the role of context on whether speakers will lengthen a word that is phonologically similar to a recently produced word. The results find that prior mention, by either the speaker or someone else, is key to lengthening due to phonological overlap. Finally, I discuss the ways that the computational model must be updated in order to accommodate these results.

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  • Department of Linguistics

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