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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Guest Speaker Seminar Series: Prof. Aditi Lahiri

When: Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Where: Zoom link: ; Passcode: 977630

Prof. Aditi Lahiri (University of Oxford) will give a Guest Speaker Seminar talk entitled 

Phonological and morphophonological asymmetries in processing and change

Abstract. Speech is variable, and no word can ever be spoken by a human being exactly in the same way twice. The claim we would like to consider is that the phonological system of the native speaker plays an active role in language change and language processing. The phonological system is inherently full of asymmetries - both in terms of the representation as well as the output of phonological processes. Representations may include contrasts in terms of features (e.g. [coronal] vs [dorsal] place of articulation) or quantity (e.g., geminate vs. singleton consonants).  These asymmetries then govern processing, and in turn, phonological and morphological change. In this talk we discuss asymmetries from case studies (historical and experimental) involving feature contrasts (German, English and Mandarin) and quantity contrasts (Bengali, English, Mandarin). We would like to argue that at each stage the phonological grammar has a constraining influence.

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