The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 4/3 - RUMMIT Practice Talks

RUMMIT, the Rutgers-UMass-MIT phonology meeting, will be held at UMass Amherst on Saturday, Apr 6. The program is available here (pdf). This week’s Phonology Circle will feature two practice talks for RUMMIT.

Date/Time: Wednesday, Apr 3, 3-5p (Note special date/time)
Location: 32-D461

Speaker: Aron Hirsch
Title: Weight effects on stress placement: syllables or intervals?

The distribution of stress is sensitive to the weight of rhythmic units such that heavier units more strongly attract stress. In this talk, we address the question as to what is the “unit” of weight. The traditional approach has been to link weight to syllable structure, with the domain over which weight is computed being the syllabic rime (i.e. nucleus + coda). Steriade (2012), however, has recently argued for an alternative non-syllable-based approach under which the domain for weight computation is the total vowel-to-vowel interval, i.e. the distance from the beginning of one vowel to the beginning of the next vowel. This talk reports preliminary results from a nonce word production experiment designed to arbitrate between the two approaches: is the unit of weight the syllable, or is it the interval?

Speaker: Juliet Stanton
Title: Predicting distributional restrictions on prenasalized stops

Previous studies on prenasalized stops have focused mainly on issues of derivation and classification, but little is known about their distributional properties. The current study fills this gap. I present results of a survey documenting positional restrictions on NCs, and show that there are predictable and systematic constraints on their distribution. The major finding is that NCs are optimally licensed in contexts where they are perceptually distinct from plain oral and plain nasal stops. (This is a shorter version of 3/11’s Phonology Circle talk.)