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LINGUIST List 17.1267

Wed Apr 26 2006

Diss: Lang Acquisition/Phonetics: Wilson: 'Articulat...'

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        1.    Ian Wilson, Articulatory Settings of French and English Monolingual and Bilingual Speakers

Message 1: Articulatory Settings of French and English Monolingual and Bilingual Speakers
Date: 26-Apr-2006
From: Ian Wilson <ilwilsoninterchange.ubc.ca>
Subject: Articulatory Settings of French and English Monolingual and Bilingual Speakers

Institution: University of British Columbia
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Ian Wilson

Dissertation Title: Articulatory Settings of French and English Monolingual and Bilingual Speakers

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            French (fra)

Dissertation Director:
Bryan Gick

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates articulatory setting (AS), a language's
underlying or default posture of the articulators (i.e., the tongue, jaw,
and lips). Inter-speech posture (ISP) of the articulators (the position of
the articulators when they are motionless during inter-utterance pauses) is
used as a measure of AS in Canadian English and Québécois French. The
dissertation reports two experiments using a combination of Optotrak and
ultrasound imaging to test whether ISP is language specific in both
monolingual and bilingual speakers, whether it is affected by phonetic
context, and whether it is influenced by speech mode (monolingual or

Results of Experiment 1 show significant differences in ISP across the
English and French monolingual groups, with English exhibiting a higher
tongue tip, more protruded upper and lower lips, and narrower horizontal
lip aperture. Results also show that for English speakers, the jaw ISP is
somewhat influenced by phonetic context while the lip and tongue ISP are
not. For French speakers, only certain lip components of ISP are influenced
by phonetic context while the ISP of the tongue and jaw are not.

Results of Experiment 2 show that upper and lower lip protrusion are
greater for the English ISP than for the French ISP, in all bilinguals who
were perceived as native speakers of both of their languages, but in none
of the other bilinguals. Also, tongue tip height results mirrored those of
the monolingual groups, for half of the bilinguals perceived as native
speakers of both languages, but for no other bilinguals. Finally, results
show that there is no unique bilingual-mode ISP, but instead one that is
equivalent to the monolingual-mode ISP of a speaker's currently most-used

This research empirically confirms centuries of non-instrumental evidence
for the existence of AS, and thus supports calls for the teaching of AS to
L2 learners. Additionally, the lack of phonetic carry-over effect on ISP is
encouraging for studies that have used ISP as a measurement baseline.
Finally, the fact that there is no unique ISP for bilingual speech mode
suggests that differences between monolingual and bilingual modes do not
hold at the phonetic level.

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