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Dynamic specification of speech and sign
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. fonetik.
2006 (English)In: Dynamics of speech production and perception, IOS, Amsterdam , 2006Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Sensory systems prefer time-varying over static stimuli. An example of this fact is provided by the dynamic spectro-temporal changes of speech signals which are known to play a key role in speech perception. To some investigators such observations provide support for adopting the gesture as the basic entity of speech. An alleged advantage of such a dynamically defined unit - over the more traditional, static and abstract, phoneme or segment - is that it can readily be observed in phonetic records. However, as has been thoroughly documented throughout the last fifty years, articulatory and acoustic measurements are ubiquitously context-dependent. That makes the gesture, defined as an observable, problematic as a primitive of phonetic theory.

The goal of the present paper is to propose a resolution of the static-dynamic paradox. An analysis of articulatory and sign movement dynamics is presented in terms of a traditional model based on timeless spatial specifications (targets, via points) plus smoothing (as determined by the dynamics of speech effectors). We justify this analysis as follows: A first motivation is empirical: As illustrated in this chapter both articulatory and sign data lend themselves readily to a target-based analysis. The second part of the argument appeals to the principle of parsimony which says: Do not unnecessarily invoke movement to explain movement. Until a deeper understanding is available of how the neuro-mechanical systems of speech contribute to its articulatory and acoustic dynamics, it would seem prudent to put dynamic (gestural) motor commands on hold. Thirdly, if the schema of static-targets plus dynamic-smoothing is an intuitive way of conceptually parsing movements, it is only natural that phoneticians should have given many speech sounds static labels in traditional descriptive frameworks. Static-target control in speech production should in no way be incompatible with dynamic input patterns for perception. Once that fact is acknowledged, there is no paradox.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IOS, Amsterdam , 2006.
Keyword [en]
movement control, speech, sign language, target theory
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-11019ISBN: 1-58603+666+1OAI: diva2:177538
Available from: 2008-01-09 Created: 2008-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Lindblom, Björn
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