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

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. Source

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

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. Source

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

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. Source

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

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. Source

Benz A.,Center for General Linguistics
Journal of Logic, Language and Information

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. Source

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