Computational experiments focused on place of articulation in voiced stops were designed to
generate ‘optimal’ inventories of CV syllables from a larger set of ‘possible CV:s’ in the presence
of independently and numerically defined articulatory, perceptual and developmental
constraints. Across vowel contexts the most salient places were retroflex, palatal and uvular.
This was evident from acoustic measurements and perceptual data. Simulation results using
the criterion of perceptual contrast alone failed to produce systems with the typologically widely
attested set [b] [d] [g], whereas using articulatory cost as the sole criterion produced inventories
in which bilabial, dental/alveolar and velar onsets formed the core. Neither perceptual
contrast, nor articulatory cost, (nor the two combined), produced a consistent re-use of
place features (‘phonemic coding’). Only systems constrained by ‘target learning’ exhibited
a strong recombination of place features.
Giampiero Salvis adress: KTH, Dept of Speech Music and Hearing, SE 10044 Stockholm
Randy Diehl & Sang-Hoon Park: Dept of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA