Center for General Linguistics

Berlin, Germany

Center for General Linguistics

Berlin, Germany
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Arvaniti A.,University of Kent | Zygis M.,Center for General Linguistics | Jaskula M.,West Pomeranian University of Technology
Phonetica | Year: 2017

Two calling melodies of Polish were investigated, the routine call, used to call someone for an everyday reason, and the urgent call, which conveys disapproval of the addressee's actions. A Discourse Completion Task was used to elicit the two melodies from Polish speakers using twelve names from one to four syllables long; there were three names per syllable count, and speakers produced three tokens of each name with each melody. The results, based on eleven speakers, show that the routine calling melody consists of a low F0 stretch followed by a rise-fall-rise; the urgent calling melody, on the other hand, is a simple rise-fall. Systematic differences were found in the scaling and alignment of tonal targets: the routine call showed late alignment of the accentual pitch peak, and in most instances lower scaling of targets. The accented vowel was also affected, being overall louder in the urgent call. Based on the data and comparisons with other Polish melodies, we analyze the routine call as LH∗ !H-H% and the urgent call as H∗ L-L%. We discuss the results and our analysis in light of recent findings on calling melodies in other languages, and explore their repercussions for intonational phonology and the modeling of intonation. © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Koenig L.L.,Haskins Laboratories | Koenig L.L.,Long Island University | Fuchs S.,Center for General Linguistics | Lucero J.C.,University of Brasilia
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2011

In obstruent consonants, a major constriction in the upper vocal tract yields an increase in intraoral pressure (Pio). Phonation requires that subglottal pressure (Psub) exceed Pio by a threshold value, so as the transglottal pressure reaches the threshold, phonation will cease. This work investigates how Pio levels at phonation offset and onset vary before and after different German voiceless obstruents (stop, fricative, affricates, clusters), and with following high vs low vowels. Articulatory contacts, measured using electropalatography, were recorded simultaneously with Pio to clarify how supraglottal constrictions affect Pio. Effects of consonant type on phonation thresholds could be explained mainly in terms of the magnitude and timing of vocal-fold abduction. Phonation offset occurred at lower values of Pio before fricative-initial sequences than stop-initial sequences, and onset occurred at higher levels of Pio following the unaspirated stops of clusters compared to fricatives, affricates, and aspirated stops. The vowel effects were somewhat surprising: High vowels had an inhibitory effect at voicing offset (phonation ceasing at lower values of Pio) in short-duration consonant sequences, but a facilitating effect on phonation onset that was consistent across consonantal contexts. The vowel influences appear to reflect a combination of vocal-fold characteristics and vocal-tract impedance. © 2011 Acoustical Society of America.


Weirich M.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Fuchs S.,Center for General Linguistics
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research | Year: 2013

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to further explore the understanding of speaker-specific realizations of the /s/-/∫ / contrast in German in relation to individual differences in palate shape. Method: Two articulatory experiments were carried out with German native speakers. In the first experiment, 4monozygotic and 2 dizygotic twin pairs were recorded by means of electromagnetic articulography. In the second experiment, 12 unrelated speakers were recorded by means of electropalatography. Interspeaker variability in the articulatory distance between the sibilants was measured and was correlated with several parameters of the palate shape. Results: The results were twofold: (a) Similar palatal morphologies as found in monozygotic twins yield similar articulatory realizations of the /s/-/∫ / contrast regarding vertical and horizontal distance of the target tongue tip positions, and (b) the realization of the contrast was influenced by palatal steepness, especially the inclination angle of the alveolo-palatal region. Speakers with flat inclination angles mainly retracted their tongue to realize the contrast, whereas speakers with steep inclination angles also elevated their tongue. Conclusion: The articulatory realization of the sibilant contrast is influenced not only by speaker-specific auditory acuity, as previously observed, but also by palatal shape morphology, which affects the somatosensory feedback speakers receive. © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


Steinberg J.,University of Leipzig | Truckenbrodt H.,Center for General Linguistics | Jacobsen T.,University of Leipzig | Jacobsen T.,Helmut Schmidt University
International Journal of Psychophysiology | Year: 2010

In auditory speech processing, implicit linguistic knowledge is activated and applied on phonetic and segment-related phonological processing level even if the perceived sound sequence is outside the focus of attention. In this study, the effects of language-specific phonotactic restrictions on pre-attentive auditory speech processing were investigated, using the Mismatch Negativity component of the human event-related brain potential. In German grammar, the distribution of the velar and the palatal dorsal fricative is limited by an obligatory phonotactic constraint, Dorsal Fricative Assimilation, which demands that a vowel and a following dorsal fricative must have the same specifications for articulatory backness. For passive oddball stimulation, we used three phonotactically correct VC syllables and one incorrect VC syllable, composed of the vowels [Ε] and [O{open}] and the fricatives [ç] and [Ç]. Stimuli were contrasted pairwise in experimental oddball blocks in a way that they differed in regard to their respective vowel but shared the fricative. Additionally to the usual Mismatch Negativity which is attributable to the change of the initial vowel and which was elicited by all deviants, we observed a second negative deflection in the deviant ERP elicited by the phonotactically ill-formed syllable only. This negativity cannot be attributed to any acoustical or phonemic difference between standard and deviant, it rather reflects the effect of a phonotactic evaluation process after both sounds of the syllable were identified. Our finding suggests that implicit phonotactic knowledge is activated and applied even outside the focus of the participants' attention. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Jacobsen T.K.,Helmut Schmidt University | Steinberg J.,Helmut Schmidt University | Steinberg J.,University of Leipzig | Truckenbrodt H.,Center for General Linguistics | Jacobsen T.,Helmut Schmidt University
International Journal of Psychophysiology | Year: 2013

The Mismatch Negativity (MMN), a component of the event-related potential (ERP), is elicited by a deviant following a series of standard stimuli. The present study addressed the question whether two deviants occurring successively in one hierarchically organized auditory object would elicit separate MMN responses. An example of such an object is a VC syllable (vowel. +. consonant). In a passive oddball protocol, the syllables [x] and [e ℑ] were presented both as standards and deviants so that both phonemes, the vowel and the consonant, changed in the respective deviant. Two negative responses were found in the deviant-minus-standard difference waves. Due to the latencies these effects could not be interpreted as separate MMN responses to the phonemic changes. Instead, the first effect (108. ms) was taken as an N1 modulation whereas the second negativity (168. ms) was interpreted as an MMN mainly reflecting the change of the initial vowel. Furthermore, the present data were statistically compared with related results from Steinberg et al. (2010a, b) obtained partly from the same stimuli presented in oddball blocks with simple mono-phonemic deviances due to changing vowels. Higher MMN amplitudes were found for the syllable [e ℑ] in the present data compared to those previous findings. Although this difference was only present for one of the stimulus syllables, it is discussed as a possible indicator of an anticipatory MMN enhancement due to the predictability of the second change in the deviant of the present experiment. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Benz A.,Center for General Linguistics
Journal of Logic, Language and Information | Year: 2012

In this paper we are going to show that error coping strategies play an essential role in linguistic pragmatics. We study the effect of noisy speaker strategies within a framework of signalling games with feedback loop. We distinguish between cases in which errors occur in message selection and cases in which they occur in signal selection. The first type of errors affects the content of an utterance, and the second type its linguistic expression. The general communication model is inspired by the Shannon-Weaver communication model. We test the model by a number of benchmark examples, including examples of relevance implicatures, quantity implicatures, and presupposition accommodation. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Grimme B.,Ruhr University Bochum | Fuchs S.,Center for General Linguistics | Perrier P.,Grenoble Institute of Technology | Schoner G.,Ruhr University Bochum
Motor Control | Year: 2011

This paper presents a comparative conceptual review of speech and limb motor control. Speech is essentially cognitive in nature and constrained by the rules of language, while limb movement is often oriented to physical objects. We discuss the issue of intrinsic vs. extrinsic variables underlying the representations of motor goals as well as whether motor goals specify terminal postures or entire trajectories. Timing and coordination is recognized as an area of strong interchange between the two domains. Although coordination among different motor acts within a sequence and coarticulation are central to speech motor control, they have received only limited attention in manipulatory movements. The biomechanics of speech production is characterized by the presence of soft tissue, a variable number of degrees of freedom, and the challenges of high rates of production, while limb movements deal more typically with inertial constraints from manipulated objects. This comparative review thus leads us to identify many strands of thinking that are shared across the two domains, but also points us to issues on which approaches in the two domains differ. We conclude that conceptual interchange between the fields of limb and speech motor control has been useful in the past and promises continued benefit. © 2011 Human Kinetics, Inc.


Lancia L.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Fuchs S.,Center for General Linguistics
9th International Seminar on Speech Production 2011, ISSP 2011 | Year: 2011

We analyze the coordination patterns among the jaw, the tip of the tongue and the lower lip observed during two speeded repetition experiments. French and German speakers were asked to repeat at increasing speech rate VCVC disyllables containing a labial and a coronal consonant. While at moderate speech rate the jaw produces two cycles per utterance, at fast rate only one jaw cycle per utterance is observed. The remaining oscillation is synchronized with the tongue tip, coherently with the idea that the production of the coronal constriction requires a high jaw position. Moreover the whole articulatory behavior results more stable when the elevation of the jaw is greater during the coronal constriction than during the labial constriction. An effect of the different prosodic systems is found at fast speech rate: The tongue tip slightly precedes the lower lip in German, while in French the reverse is observed. The results obtained are relevant for the explanation of the Labial Coronal effect, i.e. the preference for the labial-coronal order in CVC sequences instead of the coronal-labial order. This effect is frequently observed in the languages of the world.


Weirich M.,Center for General Linguistics | Fuchs S.,Center for General Linguistics
9th International Seminar on Speech Production 2011, ISSP 2011 | Year: 2011

The purpose of this study is to further explore the understanding of speaker-specific realizations of the /s/-/∫ / contrast in relation to individual morphological differences. In particular, we investigate the relationship between individual palate shape and the realization of the contrast in a) twins and b) a more heterogenous speaker group by means of Electromagnetic Articulography and Electropalatography. Our results are twofold: first, similar palate morphologies such as in identical twins yield in similar articulatory realizations of this phoneme contrast regarding vertical and horizontal distance of the target tongue tip positions. Second, palatal height, anterior width of the palate, and palatal doming in the region where the contrast is produced influence its realization. Hence, a speaker's articulatory realization of the sibilant contrast is not only influenced by speaker-specific auditory and somatosensory acuity but also by individual morphological constraints of the vocal tract.


Steinberg J.,University of Leipzig | Steinberg J.,Helmut Schmidt University | Truckenbrodt H.,Center for General Linguistics | Jacobsen T.,Helmut Schmidt University
Psychophysiology | Year: 2011

In this human ERP study, effects of language-specific phonotactic restrictions on automatic auditory speech processing were investigated by means of the dorsal fricative assimilation (DFA) that is obligatory in German grammar. Using a multiple passive oddball paradigm, we studied the deviance-related processing of phonotactically ill-formed strings violating DFA. Eight VC-syllables were created by exhaustively combining the vowels and the dorsal fricatives, resulting in four well-formed and four ill-formed stimuli that were contrasted in oddball blocks with changing probabilities of occurrence. Only the ill-formed deviants elicited a negative ERP deflection maximal at about 100 msec after the onset of the fricative. This negativity is considered to reflect a phonotactic evaluation process requiring the activation of implicit phonotactic knowledge from long-term memory and resulting in the automatic detection of a DFA violation.© 2011 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

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