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Colloquium 10 (13th November, 10AM): Hayeun Jang (SNU)

From the tongue musculature to the phonological typology: a case study of coronal palatalization

The tenth colloquium held at the Department of Linguistics, SNU in Fall 2020 is “From the tongue musculature to the phonological typology: a case study of coronal palatalization” by Hayeun Jang.

The speaker currently works at Seoul National University, Korea. She acquired her PhD in Linguistics from University of Southern California in 2020.


This study investigates the phonetic motivation for the triggering patterns of coronal palatalization. Reviewing previous cross-linguistic surveys, I found two distinct relationships of high vowels in triggering coronal palatalization: (i) If /u/ triggers full palatalization, then so will /i/, but (ii) /u/ can trigger secondary palatalization, while /i/ does not. The observed implicational relations of triggering vowels are problematic in traditional approaches.

I argue that speakers’ phonetic knowledge of contextual coarticulatory effects enters into the phonological computation in the form of gradient featural representations. In particular, phonetic knowledge is based on the physiological synergies of tongue musculature in articulation. I model the articulatory knowledge through simulations using a 3D tongue model in Artisynth (www.artisynth.org). The representations encoding coarticulatory knowledge involve gradient values. I derive the coarticulatory representations by a feed-forward neural network that maps muscular activations into features. I lay out the foundations of grammatical computation through a transitivized version of correspondence between coarticulatory representations and output candidates sharing the same input in the framework of Harmonic Grammar. The proposed computational model refers to both polarity and gradience in representations in the selection of output realization.

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