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Beyond Lab Phonology The Phonetics of Speech Communication. Klaus J. Kohler IPDS, Kiel, Germany. Paper at the Conference on Methods in Phonology Berkeley, 20 - 23 May 2004. 1 Introduction. Every science develops paradigms sets of theoretical and methodological principles,

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Beyond lab phonology the phonetics of speech communication

Beyond Lab PhonologyThe Phonetics of Speech Communication

Klaus J. Kohler

IPDS, Kiel, Germany

Paper at the Conference on Methods in Phonology

Berkeley, 20 - 23 May 2004


1 introduction
1 Introduction

  • Every science develops paradigms

    • sets of theoretical and methodological principles,

    • which are only partly determined by scentific phenomena, far more by the sociology of science;

    • they are passed on through the teaching of an influential, often missionary discipleship,

    • and they are finally codified in textbooks.


  • Change means revolution

    • Historical Linguistics of the 19th c.

    • Structuralism in 1/20th c.

    • Generative Grammar since the 2/20th c.

  • Applies to the analysis of the spoken medium too.


    • experimental, signal-oriented phonetics > science discipline: Rousselot, Scripture, Panconcelli-Calzia

    • descriptive, symbol-oriented phonetics > humanities discipline: Jespersen, Passy, Sievers, Sweet, Viëtor

    • phonology in Prague Circle and American Structuralism > new discipline within linguistics and humanities

    • conceptualization of a science-humanities dualism


    • Linguistic concepts, e.g. the phoneme, imported into psychology and engineering labs

      • to be filled with phonetic substance in production and perception experiments

      • adequacy of linguistic concepts for new questions taken for granted

      • > ‘categorical speech perception’, ‘the speech code’, ‘the motor theory of speech perception’


    • analysis of minute detail in word-phonology frame psychology and engineering labs

      • e.g. array of phonetic parameters for voiced/ voiceless plosives in word or logatome contrasts in isolation or in metalinguistic phrases

      • even rejection of established phonological rules, e.g. neutralization of word-final voicing in German


  • results of limited value for explanation of speech communication

  • This is the paradigm of ‘phonology-going-into-the-lab’.


    • It reached its climax with the Lab Phonology series. experimental design and blind application of statistics

    • Lab Phonology > natural science

      • filling known phonological categories with phonetic substance under lab conditions

      • thus alleviating the modularization into phonetics and phonology

      • but new dilemma: categoricalness vs. gradience of phonological categories


    • Neither the phonological categories nor the phonetic measurements of Lab Phonology

      • need represent language structures in communication

      • they may even reflect incongruous metalinguistic domains

    • thus extrapolation to real speakers and listeners problematic, but standard practice in Lab Phonology

    • return to the philosophy of science approach of early 20th c. in spite of sophisticated theorizing and analysis



    • Part of the Lab Phonology paradigm is the prosodic framework of Autosegmental-Metrical Phonology/ToBI

      • none of the many prosodic paradigms

        • British School, Halliday, Dutch Model, Swedish Model, Danish Model, Fujisaki-Model, AM-Phonology/ToBI, KIM (The Kiel Intonation Model)

      • have been carried round the globe with greater zeal than AM-Phonology and its tool ToBI.


    • It has little concern for the communicative categories “Time”, “Listener” and “Function”:

      • it lacks concern for “Time”, because it defines intonation contours independently of time

      • it also lacks concern for the “Listener”, because it focuses on production

      • and it lacks concern for “Function” in a wide sense, because it concentrates on linguistic function, if it considers function at all.


    • But these categories are corner-stones in the paradigm of “Time”, “Listener” and “Function”:‘phonology-coming-out-of-the-lab’.

    • I will now look at the phonology of f0 peaks under two perspectives

      • Lab Phonology with ‘phonology-going-into-the-lab’

        • L-H categorization independent of “time”

        • phonetic alignment independent of the “listener”

        • detached from “function”


    • Communicative Phonetics with ‘phonology-coming-out-of-the-lab’

      • “time”, “listener”, “function” define intonational categories

      • phonetic substance determines phonological form

      • and provides a direct link to “function”: The Frequency Code


    2 the phonology of f0 peaks
    2 The Phonology of f0 Peaks with ‘phonology-coming-out-of-the-lab’

    2.1 Pitch accents and alignment in AM/ToBI

    • Timeless phonological categorization of intonation peaks in AM-Phonology/ToBI: H+L* vs (L+)H* vs L*+H

    • post hoc introduction of time as phonetic alignment in a considerable number of lab speech studies in English, German, Dutch, Greek, e.g. R.D. Ladd


    • Esther Grabe‘s with ‘phonology-coming-out-of-the-lab’ComparativeIntonational Phonologyof English and German (1998)

      • lab data on the production of H*+L were collected for both languages in parallel contexts

      • it is postulated, but not explicated that both languages contain the same intonational category in their phonological inventories

      • this category is filled with phonetic substance through measuring f0-peak alignment

      • result: later position in German than in English


    • but the contexts in the data acquistion were not identical for the two languages

      • ”Anna and Peter are watching TV. A photograph of this week's National Lottery winner appears. Anna says: Look, Peter! It's ...! Our new neighbour!”

      • ”Anna und Peter sehen fern: Ein Lottogewinner wird vorgestellt. Anna sagt: Na sowas! Das ist doch Herr ...! Unser neuer Nachbar!”


    • surprise in Germ. “ for the two languagesNa sowas!” (“Well I never!”), reinforced by “doch”, absent from “Look, Peter!”

    • in such a context German uses a semantically contrastive late peak position

    • this shows that

      • “function” is already important at data collection

      • different phonological synchronizations of f0 contours with articulation need to be distinguished from variable phonetic alignment to avoid misinterpretation


    2 2 time listener function in f0 contours
    2.2 “Time”, “Listener”, “Function” in f0 contours

    2.2.1 Synchronization of pitch patterns

    • backed by long-standing research at IPDS Kiel KIM: The Kiel Intonation Model cf Lab Phonology I

    • global contours (peaks, valleys)

    • new experimental paradigm

      • whole F0 peak contour shifted in equal steps

      • through segmentally constant utterance

      • for perceptual pitch changes

      • and associated semantic features



    Germ sie hat ja ge lo gen she s been lying
    Germ. contours Sie hat ja gelogen. “She’s been lying.”

    l



    • medial - openness contours

      • observing

      • realising

      • starting a new argument

    • late - unexpectedness

      • observing, realising in contrast to one‘s expectation

      • surprise

      • disbelief


    2 2 2 internal pitch timing in peak contours
    2.2.2 Internal pitch timing in peak contours contours

    • recent research at IPDS Kiel

      • Oliver Niebuhr MA dissertation 2003 “Perzeptorische Untersuchungen zu Zeit-variablen in Grundfrequenzgipfeln” in German

      • Tamara Khromovskikh MA dissertation 2003 “Perzeptionsuntersuchungen zur Intonation der Frage im Russischen”

    • the rise and the fall of a peak contour

      • slow

      • fast


    • independent changes of rise and fall speeds contours

    • softening of ‘finality’ of early peak by slow fall

    • further increase of ‘openness’ by fast rise

    • perceptual interaction between synchronization and internal timing


    Germ sie hat ja gelogen she s been lying
    Germ. contours Sie hat ja gelogen. “She’s been lying.”


    2 2 3 am phonology and kim compared
    2.2.3 AM Phonology and KIM compared contours

    • alignment in ToBI and peak position in KIM are fundamentally different concepts

      • in KIM the time dimension is anchored in the phonological categories themselves

      • in ToBI it is a phonetic addition post festum

      • “Time” has the same conceptual value at the prosodic level in KIM as it has at the segmental level in Articulatory Phonology


    2 3 findings from other languages
    2.3 Findings from other languages contours

    • Russian

      • yes-no questions lack syntactic markers

      • synchronization and internal timing effects in F0 coding of statements vs. yes-no questions

        • early vs. late peak positions

        • combined with slow rise + fast fall vs. fast rise + slow fall

        • and by additional lower vs. higher peak value


    • Bulgarian contours

      • narrow-focus statement vs. question show the same differences in

        • synchronization

        • and internal timing

          as in Russian

      • Bistra Andreeva, Saarbrücken: production data


    • Pisa Italian contours

      • broad focus vs. narrow contrast

        • in former, F0 maximum of peak contour later and trailing off more slowly

      • Barbara Gili Fivela, “Tonal alignment in two Pisa Italian peak accents”, Speech Prosody 2002, production data


    • Neapolitan Italian contours

      • statement vs. question

        • later synchronization of F0 peaks

        • and strengthening of high F0 in the descent

          for questions

      • Mariapaola d'Imperio, “The Role of Perception in Defining Tonal Targets and their Alignment”, PhD thesis, OSU, 2000, perception data


    • Bari Italian contours

      • commands vs. questions

      • based on the sentence "lo mandi a Massimiliano“

        • later peak position as well as a faster rise in questions

      • Martine Grice& Michelina Savino, “Low tone versus 'sag' in Bari Italian intonation; a perceptual experiment”, ICPhS Stockholm 1995, perception data


    2 4 explaining the data
    2.4 Explaining the data contours

    • reference to two theoretical principles

      • auditory contrast in contours at specific syllable points (auditory enhancement, cf. Diehl & Kluender)

      • and J. Ohala‘s Frequency Code

    • contrastive high-low vs low-high pitch change in consonant - vowel transition of the accented syllable for early vs medial peak



    • J. Ohala intensity, heightening pitch change’sFrequency Code:

      • an attempt to relate phonetic substance

        • high vs. low F0

      • to social behaviour

        • subordination vs. dominance

      • subsequent explanation of linguistic form

        • use of high or rising F0, e.g. in questions in the languages of the world


    • may also be applied to the high/low contrast for the semantics of ‘opennesss’ vs. ‘finality’, which includes ‘subordination’ vs. ‘dominance’

    • all peak alignment data and functions they serve in the different languages can be subsumed under the same two principles of auditory enhancement and Frequency Code

    • later, faster rising and higher F0 peak configuration contains all the ingredients for a low-high pitch contrast in an accented vowel to mark the question function vs statement/command


    3 developing the new paradigm
    3 Developing the new paradigm semantics of ‘

    • The goal of phonetics is the elucidation of speech communication

      • of the relationship between phonetic substance and communicative function

      • with linguistic form being derived from this relationship.


    • Corollaries semantics of ‘

      • neither substance nor function can be analysed without the other

        • measurement must take place within communicative domains

          • go beyond lab speech

          • take spontaneous speech into the lab




    • The supplement is provided by systematic analysis of large corpora of speech interaction

      • segmental and prosodic annotation on the basis of provisional phonological categories of lab speech, e.g. Kiel Corpus of SpontaneousSpeech

      • context-sensitive search operations

      • measurements for sound classes and pitch patterns in search files

      • statistics applied to symbol and signal data


    • return to lab speech experiments on the basis of results of corpus analysis

    • revision of the initial heuristic categories to bring them in line with the phonetics of speech communication

    • ‘phonology-coming-out-of-the-lab’

    • This progression of steps has largely been carried out in the analysis of f0 peaks in German.


    4 outlook
    4 Outlook corpus analysis

    • Speech analysis is not just a metalinguistic academic pursuit

    • but aims at describing and explaining language and speech behaviour

      • in realistic communicative situations

      • with reference to such central concepts as function, time and the listener

      • and general principles in production and perception.


    • There is growing unease with mainstream prosodic theory and practice, e.g. ToBI

    • fair amount of rumbling at Speech Prosody 2002/4

      • Yi Xu went as far as giving priority to function over lingistic form.

      • When we combine this with Björn Lindblom’s priority of substance over linguistic form, we capture the future of phonetics, which I have attempted to sketch in this paper

        • the relation between function and substance

        • linguistic form as derivative from it.


    • This movement will gather momentum in years to come practice, e.g. ToBI

    • and the categories I have been talking about today will no doubt play a central role

      • in the development of a comprehensive theory of speech communication

      • and in the description of speech behaviour in the languages of the world.

    • We will then have a new paradigm, the Paradigm of Function-Oriented Experimental Phonetics.


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