The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, February 16th, 2009

Ling Lunch 2/19-Pritty Patel, Patrick Grosz, Evelina Fedorenko and Ted Gibson

This week’s Ling Lunch features a talk by Pritty Patel, Patrick Grosz, Evelina Fedorenko and Ted Gibson (MIT)

Title: “Restrictions on E-type pronouns: Making the case for Uniqueness”
Time: Thurs 12:30-1:45
Place: 32-D461

BCS Special Seminar - Thurs 2/19 - Michael Frank

Speaker: Michael C. Frank (MIT)
Title: Early Word Learning Through Communicative Inference
Time: Thurs 2/19, 10am
Location: 46-3189

News from our undergraduate program

Diane Rak ‘10, a junior majoring in Linguistics, has been selected as a 2009 Burchard Scholar, an award “given to students who demonstrate unusual abilities and academic excellence in the areas embraced by” the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at MIT. Congratulations!!

Phonology Circle - Tues 2/17 - Tara McAllister

Please note special day; Tuesday 2/17 follows a Monday schedule

Speaker: Tara McAllister
Title: Articulatory and Perceptual Factors in a Child-Specific Error Process
Time: Tues 2/17, 5pm
Location: 32-D831

Several commonly observed processes in child speech lack counterparts in adult phonologies. Particularly problematic are child processes of neutralization in prosodically strong positions, which contravene our understanding of positional neutralization as a phonetically motivated process governed by the relative strength of perceptual cues. Previous analyses have implicated both child-specific patterns of perception (Dinnsen & Farris-Trimble, 2008) and limitations of the immature articulatory apparatus (Inkelas & Rose, 2008) as the source of this reversal of the adult pattern. I will evaluate the evidence for child-specific perceptual and articulatory factors in an experimental investigation of one child’s pattern of velar fronting in strong position. It will be shown that this child exhibited an adult-like perceptual advantage for contrasts in word-initial position. This suggests that articulatory rather than perceptual factors are responsible for his pattern of neutralization in strong position. Acoustic data from neutralized /d/ and /g/ tokens will also be presented to extend our understanding of articulatory factors that contribute to the process of velar fronting.