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Seminar Abstract

Syllables in speech production: Storage versus computation.

Speaker : Dr Joana Cholin , Linguistics and Literary Studies, Bielefeld University, Germany.
Date : 28th of February 2014, 12:00PM until 1:00PM
Location : AHH, Level 3, Room 3.610, Macquarie University.

    What are the relevant production units during post-lexical encoding processes in spoken language production? In my talk, I will argue for the functionally important role of syllables during phono­logical and phonetic encoding levels during speech planning. There is agreement that syllabic structure contributes to processes such as phonological word formation and stress assignment. There is, however, disagreement over whether syllabic structure is retrieved as part of the lexicalized word form, or whether it only emerges in online-syllabification processes that follow lexical access. In either case, the output of word form encoding is considered to be a phonological word that contains a string of syllables specified for segmental and metrical properties. A further question concerns the issue of whether or not these syllables activate their correspon­ding motor programs in a separate store that supplies speakers with precompiled motor programs to facilitate the final steps of speech planning. In the first part of my talk, I will review data stemming from different experimental paradigms and different languages that provide evidence for and against the assumption that syllable struc­ture is a lexical property. I will argue against stored syllabic structure at a lexical level and for a context-dependent, post-lexical online computation of syllables. In the second part of my talk, I will review findings and present data that strengthen the view that syllabic motor programs are retrieved from a separate store. In particular, I will present data from fluent as well as non-fluent speakers to explore how storage and computation of syllables might in­teract between the levels of phonological/phonetic encoding and articulation. Finally, I will address the question of how the incremental execution of subsequent syllables depends on factors such as frequency and the size of the phonological word.

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