When: Wednesday, September 18th, 3-4 pm in room 117
Who: Kie Zuraw (UCLA, presenting joint work with Sharon Peperkamp)
What: Aspiration in English prefixed words: a production study

Previous research has documented phonetic differences between prefixed words such as ‘mis-type’ and pseudoprefixed or opaquely prefixed words such as ‘mistake’ (Baker, Smith & Hawkins 2007, Smith, Baker & Hawkins 2012). One of the most striking differences is aspiration: the /t/ in ‘mis-type’ is aspirated, while that in ‘mistake’ is unaspirated. Presumably, the morpheme boundary in ‘mis-type’ prevents the /s/ from joining the second syllable’s onset, keeping the /t/ syllable-initial and thus aspirated. Our study found that the difference exists even when the stem-initial syllable is unstressed, as in ‘mis-conducted’ (aspirated) vs. ‘disposition’ (variable); we take this to mean that the /k/ in ‘mis-conducted’ is prosodic-word initial.

The purpose of this production study (16 participants producing 110 target items) was to identify words whose aspiratedness is variable across participants, for use in a future study (whose goal I’ll explain briefly in the talk). But the results themselves have some interesting points. As mentioned above, our results confirm that even unstressed-syllable-initial consonants can be aspirated–that is, can behave as though word-initial–if a clear prefix boundary precedes them. We also find that frequency of the whole word and of the stem influence whether a word is aspirated or not, as well as its VOT within each category, suggesting possible processing influences.

Below is the schedule of upcoming presentations. If you’d like to present something after November, please email the organizers at: linglunch@gmail.com.

September 25: Mike Hamilton
October 2: Liz Smeets
October 9: Gretchen McCulloch
October 16: Gui Garcia
October 23: Mikael Vinka & Christian Waldmann (Surface anaphors in Swedish)
October 30: Hye-Young Bang
November 6: Maayan Adar
November 13: Yuliya Manyakina
November 20: Tokiko Okuma
November 27: Dan Goodhue