The learnability of metrical phonology

Author: Diana Apoussidou
LOT Number: 148
ISBN: 978-90-78328-18-6
Pages: 231
Year: 2006
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The Learnability of Metrical Phonology

This dissertation investigates the learnability of grammatically vs. lexically
assigned word stress. The learning process is computationally modelled within
an Optimality Theoretic framework. The results show that even if they acquire
the same language, learners can end up with different grammars. Moreover,
the results suggest that first language learners can bootstrap into the
phonology of a language by making use of the meaning of a for m in
combination with its phonetic content.

The proposed model employs four levels of representation: a phonetic
representation, a surface phonological representation, an underlying
phonological representation, and a representation of meaning. These different
levels are connected to each other by different families of constraints. In the
compehension process, the relation between the phonetic for m and the
phonological surface form is determined by structural constraints. In both the
comprehension process and the production process, the relation between the
phonological surface form and the phonological underlying form is
determined by faithfulness constraints, whereas the relation between
underlying form and meaning is determined by lexical constraints. The
implication of the last point is that there is no strict demarcation between
grammar and lexicon.

This study is of interest to linguists working in computional models of
learnability and language acquisition, as well as metrical phonology and
Optimality Theory.

The Learnability of Metrical Phonology

This dissertation investigates the learnability of grammatically vs. lexically
assigned word stress. The learning process is computationally modelled within
an Optimality Theoretic framework. The results show that even if they acquire
the same language, learners can end up with different grammars. Moreover,
the results suggest that first language learners can bootstrap into the
phonology of a language by making use of the meaning of a for m in
combination with its phonetic content.

The proposed model employs four levels of representation: a phonetic
representation, a surface phonological representation, an underlying
phonological representation, and a representation of meaning. These different
levels are connected to each other by different families of constraints. In the
compehension process, the relation between the phonetic for m and the
phonological surface form is determined by structural constraints. In both the
comprehension process and the production process, the relation between the
phonological surface form and the phonological underlying form is
determined by faithfulness constraints, whereas the relation between
underlying form and meaning is determined by lexical constraints. The
implication of the last point is that there is no strict demarcation between
grammar and lexicon.

This study is of interest to linguists working in computional models of
learnability and language acquisition, as well as metrical phonology and
Optimality Theory.

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