* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
LINGUIST List logo Eastern Michigan University Wayne State University *
* People & Organizations * Jobs * Calls & Conferences * Publications * Language Resources * Text & Computer Tools * Teaching & Learning * Mailing Lists * Search *
* *
LINGUIST List 18.925

Tue Mar 27 2007

Diss: Neuroling/Psycholing/Phonology: Scharinger: 'The Representati...'

Editor for this issue: Hunter Lockwood <hunterlinguistlist.org>

To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
        1.    Mathias Scharinger, The Representation of Vocalic Features in Vowel Alternations: Phonological, morphological and computational aspects

Fund Drive FLASH: We still need $40,685 to end Fund Drive.
If you have not donated, please visit http://linguistlist.org/donate.html

Message 1: The Representation of Vocalic Features in Vowel Alternations: Phonological, morphological and computational aspects
Date: 27-Mar-2007
From: Mathias Scharinger <mathias.scharingeruni-konstanz.de>
Subject: The Representation of Vocalic Features in Vowel Alternations: Phonological, morphological and computational aspects

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

Author: Mathias Scharinger

Dissertation Title: The Representation of Vocalic Features in Vowel Alternations: Phonological, morphological and computational aspects

Linguistic Field(s): Neurolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            German, Standard (deu)

Dissertation Director:
Carsten Eulitz
John Kingston
Aditi Lahiri
Frans Plank
Henning Reetz

Dissertation Abstract:

A pertinacious issue within linguistics is the asymmetry of sound-meaning
and meaning-sound relations. One sequence of speech sounds may convey more
than one meaning, and vice versa, one meaning can be expressed by more than
one speech sound sequence.

This dissertation is concerned with a morphophonological asymmetry between
underlying representations and surface forms. A case here are
morphophonological vowel alternations, i.e. differing realisations of one
vocalic phoneme dependent on the morphosyntactic context in which the
corresponding word occurs. For instance, the vowel in the German noun Vater
(father) either surfaces as back (dorsal) vowel [a] or as front (coronal)
vowel [e], dependent of whether the noun is used in the singular or in the

A similar diachronic asymmetry, based on vowel height, can be found by
comparing New Zealand English (NZE) and American English (AE). The English
noun bat is realised with a mid vowel in NZE, while it has a low vowel in AE.

The following questions arise:
-How are vowel alternations and vowel shifts represented in the mental lexicon?

-How do speaker and listener deal with the asymmetries between underlying
and surface forms? In particular, how are alternating or shifted forms
perceived and produced?

This thesis provides theoretical and experimental evidence for a featurally
underspecified representation of vowels in morphophonological stem
alternations in German and for a particular vowel inventory in NZE which
emerged as a consequence of language change, describable as a restructuring
of contrastive features. The main tenets are that

-the lexical representations themselves determine whether grammatical vowel
alternations are possible and

-the lexical representations account for possible diachronic language changes.

The proposed model of speech perception and lexical access therefore covers
both phonological and morphological aspects of lexical organisation and
favours a single route access to all (i.e. complex and simplex) word forms.
This access is based on the matching or mismatching of features extracted
from a particular speech signal and features of word forms stored in the
mental lexicon.

The dissertation comprises five chapters. The first chapter describes the
grammatical vowel alternations in German and introduces the model which
tries to account for both the synchronic and the diachronic linguistic
data. The second chapter reviews the psycholinguistic literature on speech
comprehension. The third chapter includes a series of behavioural
experiments, seeking support for the model introduced in chapter 1 while
the fourth chapter adds neurolinguistic evidence for underspecified vowels
in particular German nouns. The fifth chapter concentrates on a vowel
change in another Germanic language, namely, in New Zealand English, and
provides experimental evidence for a restructured vowel inventory.

This Year the LINGUIST List hopes to raise $55,000. This money will go to help keep the 
List running by supporting all of our Student Editors for the coming year.

See below for donation instructions, and don't forget to check out our Fund Drive 2007 
LINGUIST List Superhero Adventure for some Fund Drive fun!


There are many ways to donate to LINGUIST!

You can donate right now using our secure credit card form.

Alternatively you can also pledge right now and pay later.

For all information on donating and pledging, including information on how to donate by 
check, money order, or wire transfer, please visit:


The LINGUIST List is under the umbrella of Eastern Michigan University and as such can 
receive donations through the EMU Foundation, which is a registered 501(c) Non Profit 
organization. Our Federal Tax number is 38-6005986. These donations can be offset against 
your federal and sometimes your state tax return (U.S. tax payers only). For more 
information visit the IRS Web-Site, or contact your financial advisor.

Many companies also offer a gift matching program, such that they will match any gift 
you make to a non-profit organization. Normally this entails your contacting your human 
resources department and sending us a form that the EMU Foundation fills in and returns 
to your employer. This is generally a simple administrative procedure that doubles the 
value of your gift to LINGUIST, without costing you an extra penny. Please take a moment 
to check if your company operates such a program.

Thank you very much for your support of LINGUIST!


Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Please report any bad links or misclassified data

LINGUIST Homepage | Read LINGUIST | Contact us

NSF Logo

While the LINGUIST List makes every effort to ensure the linguistic relevance of sites listed
on its pages, it cannot vouch for their contents.