The role of predictability in shaping phonological patterns

Kathleen Currie Hall, Elizabeth Hume, T. Florian Jaeger, Andrew B Wedel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A diverse set of empirical findings indicate that word predictability in context influences the fine-grained details of both speech production and comprehension. In particular, lower predictability relative to similar competitors tends to be associated with phonetic enhancement, while higher predictability is associated with phonetic reduction. We review evidence that these in-the-moment biases can shift the prototypical pronunciations of individual lexical items, and that over time, these shifts can promote larger-scale phonological changes such as phoneme mergers. We argue that predictability-associated enhancement and reduction effects are based on predictability at the level of meaning-bearing units (such as words) rather than at sublexical levels (such as segments) and present preliminary typological evidence in support of this view. Based on these arguments, we introduce a Bayesian framework that helps generate testable predictions about the type of enhancement and reduction patterns that are more probable in a given language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLinguistics Vanguard
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

phonetics
merger
evidence
comprehension
present
trend
language
Predictability
Phonological Patterns
Enhancement
time

Keywords

  • Bayesian phonology
  • enhancement
  • predictability
  • reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

The role of predictability in shaping phonological patterns. / Hall, Kathleen Currie; Hume, Elizabeth; Jaeger, T. Florian; Wedel, Andrew B.

In: Linguistics Vanguard, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hall, Kathleen Currie ; Hume, Elizabeth ; Jaeger, T. Florian ; Wedel, Andrew B. / The role of predictability in shaping phonological patterns. In: Linguistics Vanguard. 2018.
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