Changes In Representations

Ioana Chitoran, Jonathan Harrington and Robert Kirchner

in The Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199575039
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Changes In Representations

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  • Linguistics
  • Phonetics and Phonology



This article addresses the nature of historical change, focusing on experimental work presenting the motivations and mechanisms for language change. The two models of phonetic variation explaining sound change include Lindblom's H&H theory and Ohala's phonetic listener-based model. A smaller category of sound change falls under the scenario that Ohala calls hypercorrection, whereby the listener performs an unnecessary, inappropriate correction of the signal, and ends up producing a new form. Hypercorrection often results in dissimilation. Gestural reassignment captures the listener's failure to identify correctly the source of a particular property of the signal, as in Ohala's model. Gestural misparsing can also explain cases involving the apparent insertion or deletion of a gesture. The most widely cited formulated model of phonologization is by Hyman. The process involves two steps that include phonetic variation leading to phonological variation (phonologization), and phonological variation leading to distinctive variation (phonemicization). The speech recognition involves a calculation of distance in phonetic space between an auditory stimulus and the stored exemplars, and the application of a classification rule to these distances. Exemplar-based speech production involves generation of an output based on mean phonetic properties of the exemplars of the target category.

Keywords: Lindblom's H&H theory; Ohala's phonetic listener-based model; hypercorrection; vowel shift; speech recognition; exemplar-based speech production

Article.  14808 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Phonetics and Phonology

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