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PSY315H5 Lecture Notes - Cluster Reduction, Mutual Exclusivity, Jack Kornfield

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Craig Chambers

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Lecture 3
1) stopping – subset of consonants where air flow is abruptly stopped and released
a. block the air flow
b. continuous sounds get turned into something that’s a stop
c. silly  could be tiwi
2) final consonant devoicing
a. when there is a consonant at the end of the word that is voiced, it comes out devoiced
b. tend to devoice consonants at the end of the word
3) initial consonant voicing
a. voice sounds at the beginning of the word
4) cluster reduction
a. two consonants occur in sequence, not divided/separated by a vowel
i. one of those consonants disappears
1. simplifying the cluster of consonants to end up with just one
5) fronting
a. when consonants that are articulated towards the back of the roof of mouth get replaced
with consonant that is articulated near the front of the mouth
i. substitute consonants with ones that occur near the front of the mouth
ii. thumb  fumb
1. thumb: involves tongue and teeth
a. want to move it forward
i. just the lip and teeth so it’s fumb
6) unstressed syllable deletion
a. words that have more than one syllable
i. ones that get weak stress tend to get eliminated
1. banana  nana
2. giraffe  raffe
7) final consonant deletion
i. very last consonant word will get dropped
1. stop  ta
a. also cluster reduction occurred
8) denasalization
a. nasal consonants turn it into their correspondent non-nasal consonant versions
i. mama  baba
1. only difference is whether there is air flowing through your nasal passages
2. sounds are produced the exact same way except for the flow of air
9) gliding
a. consonants like “r” and “l” tend to turn into sounds like “w”
b. see in older kids (into kindergarten)
 these processes are universal to a certain degree (not tightly linked to phonological inventory of
 relationship between emergence of particular sound and what children do in the meantime
- can occur in combinations
- silly  tilly
- patterns are claimed to be universally observed
- What’s going on? We know infants can distinguish sounds effectively
oPerception precedes production
- “fis-wabbit” phenomenon
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oproblem specifically with production of sounds patterns of words
child could hear in adult’s speech that adult was saying it wrong
comprehension side: child knows the right sound pattern for that word
Even though the child knows that, child is unable to produce it themselves
oProduction problem
Knows the sound pattern of the word
oPronunciation does not mirror perceptual ability
Kornfield (1971)
- pictures shown to individual children
- speech-recorder used to record individual responses
- record what the child said
- recording children were in the phase where they still mispronounced the sound pattern of
- “gwass” – gliding occurring in both pictures
ograss and glass share sound pattern
- analyses showed there was some phonetic differentiation although the child perceived it to be
the same
ominor differentiations; wasn’t complete homophony
- child is making some kind of distinction using phonetic characteristics
Ingram (1976)
- should be pronounced “pay”
oboth should be the same
- “may” and “pay”
oWhy did that come out ‘may’?
Something about nasal sound that turned ‘p’ to ‘m’
- Hypothesis: strategy of homophony avoidance: maintain distinction
oAllowing the two words to be differentiated in some way
ii. Children’s understanding of word meaning
Default assumptions
- simplifying assumptions about word meaning that can help narrow down candidate meanings
oWhole object assumption
Child presented with new word
Child will assume the word maps onto the entire object and not a sub-part
of it
oMutual exclusivity
Words that they don’t have meanings for
Ex. Suppose child in visual environment where there is a bottle, and child
knows the word for bottle, and suppose there is also a wrench
Wrench is the new thing
Idea is that the child is not going to attach the word to the bottle because
the child already has a label for that
So wrench must refer to the word that they don’t have a meaning for
Meanings are going to be mutually exclusive
oTaxonomic assumption
Child will assume that the sound pattern denotes a kind of thing
Ex. Child hears “cat” don’t think it’s the name of that specific cat, but a term that
they can use to apply to animals of that kind
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