5th International Scienti칁c Conference “Contemporary Research in Phonetics and Phonology: Methods, Aspects and Problems”, Riga, May 17–18, 2018. Abstracts.
Voice Coarticulation in C#[v] Consonantal Clusters Across Word Boundaries in Russian: New Findings
especially impaired on regular past-tense forms like played, whether the task requires production, comprehension or even the judgement that "play" and "played" sound different. Within a dual-mechanism account of inflectional morphology, these deficits reflect disruption to the rule-based process that adds (or strips) the suffix -ed to regular verb stems; but the fact that the patients are also impaired at detecting the difference between word pairs like "tray" and "trade" (the latter being a phonological but not a morphological twin to "played") suggests an important role for phonological characteristics of the regular past tense. The present study examined MEG brain responses in healthy participants evoked by spoken regular past-tense forms and phonological twin words (plus twin pseudowords and a non-speech control) presented in a passive oddball paradigm. Deviant forms (played, trade, kwade/kwayed) relative to their standards (play, tray, kway) elicited a pronounced neuromagnetic response at approximately 130 ms after the onset of the affix; this response was maximal at sensors over temporal areas of both hemispheres but stronger on the left, especially for played and kwayed. Relative to the same standards, a different set of deviants ending in /t/--plate, trait and kwate--produced stronger difference responses especially over the right hemisphere. Results are discussed with regard to dual- and single-mechanism theories of past tense processing and the need to consider neurobiological evidence in attempts to understand inflectional morphology.
The paper describes a phonetic experiment that dealt with the place assimilation of voiceless palatalized alveolar fricative /sj/ by following postalveolar alveo-palatal fricative /ɕ:/ at word boundaries in Modern Standard Russian. As the former sibilant is commonly described as geminated sound and Russian prohibits long consonants in positions near other consonants, the assimilation process can potentially lead to neutralization in such minimal pairs of word combinations as проявила щедрость ‘(she) showed generosity’ and проявилась щедрость ‘generosity showed itself’.
The participants of the experiment, 20 native Russian speakers (10 men and 10 women aged 18 to 40), were instructed to read a list of sentences that included 8 minimal pairs of target word combinations embedded in carrier phrases. All stimuli were recorded in intervocalic position; phrasal accent on stimuli was avoided; accent structure of the target word combinations was deliberately varied (clusters were recorded in all possible positions with regard to stressed and unstressed vowels).
All recordings were analyzed using computer software Praat. The duration and homogeneity of fricative noise were measured. Spectral analysis showed that in 78% of tokens place assimilation of sibilants at word boundaries was complete. The measurements of duration confirmed that this parameter could vary widely, mostly in connection with stress. The duration of [ɕ(:)] sounds within minimal pairs pronounced by the same speaker showed that in similar conditions in 95,5% of cases the sound representing the underlying /sj#ɕ:/ was longer than the surface representation of the underlying /#ɕ:/ (mean difference 34,9 ms; mean duration ratio 1,26).
In order to find out whether these durational differences can be used by native speakers to distinguish minimal pairs a perception experiment was conducted. 15 native speakers, students aged 17-19, were presented with 35 stimuli (word consequences recorded during the described above experiment, but removed from phrasal context; the duration of the fricative varied widely from 135 to 202 ms). The participants’ task was to write down what they think they heard. Their responses demonstrated that they could not reliably distinguish tokens with place assimilation of underlying /sj/ (the number of correct guesses was at a chance rate – 50,8%) and tokens without underlying /sj/ (the number of correct guesses was only slightly larger – 57,1%) despite the significant durational differences.
The described phenomenon can be interpreted as a case of incomplete neutralization. The experiments showed that the neutralization of /#ɕ:/ and /sj#ɕ:/ at word boundaries in Russian is phonetically incomplete due to the significant durational differences between the produced fricatives, although these acoustic cues were not used by native speakers in distinguishing minimal pairs.
Speech production, both overt and covert, down-regulates the activation of auditory cortex. This is thought to be due to forward prediction of the sensory consequences of speech, contributing to a feedback control mechanism for speech production. Critically, however, these regulatory effects should be specific to speech content to enable accurate speech monitoring. To determine the extent to which such forward prediction is content-specific, we recorded the brain's neuromagnetic responses to heard multisyllabic pseudowords during covert rehearsal in working memory, contrasted with a control task. The cortical auditory processing of target syllables was significantly suppressed during rehearsal compared with control, but only when they matched the rehearsed items. This critical specificity to speech content enables accurate speech monitoring by forward prediction, as proposed by current models of speech production. The one-to-one phonological motor-to-auditory mappings also appear to serve the maintenance of information in phonological working memory. Further findings of right-hemispheric suppression in the case of whole-item matches and left-hemispheric enhancement for last-syllable mismatches suggest that speech production is monitored by 2 auditory-motor circuits operating on different timescales: Finer grain in the left versus coarser grain in the right hemisphere. Taken together, our findings provide hemisphere-specific evidence of the interface between inner and heard speech.
The Ustja dialect belongs to the Vologda dialect group. The latter has a well documented realization of the etymological *ê as [i] between palatalized consonants, under stress. Among contemporary speakers, *ê in this context may be realized either as [i] (the dialectal variant) or as [e] (standard Russian). No speaker who only uses the dialectal variant has been recorded. The paper focuses on how particular wordforms and the speaker’s age correlate with the variation between the dialectal vs. standard realization.