Yuan Chai publishes paper in Languages

Graduate student Yuan Chai has a new paper (with Shihong Ye) in a special issue of  Languages devoted to exploring the interaction between phonation and prosody.

Chai, Y., & Ye, S. (2022). Checked syllables, checked tones, and tone sandhi in Xiapu Min. Languages 7(1): 47. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010047

Abstract:

A “checked” syllable usually refers to one with a short vowel and an oral or glottal coda, which results impressionistically in a “short” and “abrupt” quality. Although common in languages of the world, it is unclear how to characterize checked syllables phonetically. In this study, we investigated the acoustic features of checked syllables in citation and sandhi forms in Xiapu Min, an under-documented language from China. We conducted a production experiment and analyzed the F0, phonatory quality, vowel duration, and vowel quality in checked syllables. The results show that, in citation tones, checked syllables are realized with distinct F0 contours from unchecked syllables, along with glottalization in the end and a shorter duration overall. In sandhi tones, checked syllables lose their distinct F0 contours and become less glottalized. However, the shorter duration of checked syllables is retained in sandhi forms. This study lays out the acoustic properties that tend to be associated with checked syllables and can be used when testing checked syllables in other language varieties. The fact that in Xiapu Min sandhi checked tones become less glottalized but preserve their shorter duration suggests that, when checked syllables become unchecked diachronically, glottalization might be lost prior to duration lengthening.

Yaqian Huang awarded NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant

Graduate student Yaqian Huang, a PhD candidate in our department, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (Ling-DDRI, with Prof. Marc Garellek) for the project “Phonetics of period doubling.” The goal of the project is to study the production and perception of period doubling, an irregular voice quality with more than one pitch. Yaqian will characterize the articulatory and acoustic properties of period doubling, and determine how it affects pitch and tone perception.

Michelle Yuan has a new paper in Linguistic Inquiry

Faculty member Michelle Yuan has a new paper in Linguistic Inquiry, titled “Case as an Anaphor Agreement Effect: Evidence from Inuktitut”.

Here is the abstract:

The Anaphor Agreement Effect (AAE) is the cross-linguistic inability for anaphors to co-vary with Φ-agreement (Rizzi 1990; Woolford 1999), with languages making use of a variety of strategies that conspire to circumvent this effect. In this short paper, I identify and confirm a prediction arising from two previous observations by Woolford (1999) concerning the scope of the AAE, based on new evidence from Inuktitut (Eastern Canadian Inuit). I propose that anaphors in Inuktitut are lexically specified as projecting additional syntactic structure, spelled out as oblique case morphology; because Φ-Agree in Inuktitut may only target ERG and ABS arguments, encountering an anaphor inevitably leads to failed Agree in the sense of Preminger (2011, 2014). I moreover argue that this exact AAE pattern is previously unattested, yet is predicted to arise given the range of existing strategies. Finally, this paper provides evidence against previous detransitivization-based approaches to reflexivity in Inuktitut (e.g. Bok-Bennema 1991).

Nina Semushina defends her dissertation and becomes a post-doc at the University of Chicago

Nina Semushina successfully defended her dissertation “The linguistic representation of number: Cross-linguistic and cross-modal perspectives” on August 20, 2021. She started a post-doc at the University of Chicago with Susan Goldin-Meadow and R. Breckie Church, investigating the effectiveness of teaching methods that incorporate gesture or spatial highlighting tools for math learning in hearing and deaf children and adults.

Eva Wittenberg publishes new paper on experimental design

Former UCSD undergrad Suhas Arehalli and his advisor Eva Wittenberg published a new article in Linguistics Vanguard, titled “Experimental filler design influences error correction rates in a word restoration paradigm”.

Abstract: Including fillers or distractors in psycholinguistic experiments has been standard for decades; yet, relatively little is known how the design of these items interacts with critical manipulations. In this paper, we ask about the role that contextual statistical information in filler items plays in determining if and how to correct a given error, and how grammatical expectations interact with context. We first replicate a speech restoration experiment conducted by Mack et al. (2012), measuring usage preferences of null-subject constructions. Then we report two additional experiments in which we manipulated only the filler items, either having noise appear uniformly at random, or with a particular bias. Our results (1) demonstrate that listeners are sensitive to statistical patterns in the distribution of noise within the experiment, and (2) suggest that this paradigm can be used to investigate interaction between the mechanisms that govern grammatical preferences, and those that govern error correction processes.

The paper is available here (Open Access).

SDLP Issue 10 has been published

Issue 10 of San Diego Linguistics Papers, our open-access online working papers series, has just been published and available here.

The current issue has been edited by Yuan Chai, Neşe Demir, Duk-Ho Jung, and Nina Hagen Kaldhol. This issue includes one manuscript on Gua phonology written by our recent graduate Dr. Michael Obiri-Yeboah: “Tone melody and tense, mood, aspect marking in Gua”