RESEARCH

Publications in Conference Proceedings and Working Papers

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Dissertation: Studies in Prosody and Written Language. [That’s my placeholder title. More details to come shortly.]

2nd Qualifying ExamProsodic conditioning: An instrumental production study of Tagalog u/o variation.  In Summer 2014, I collected data from native Tagalog speakers (in the NYC area) to instrumentally investigate an attested optionality between the Tagalog back vowels u and o occurring in unsuffixed and suffixed reduplicated words, e.g., haluhalo ~ halohalo (ice dessert) and haluhaluin (to mix something very well), respectively.  The main goals of this study were to 1) investigate the phonetic properties of u and o in Tagalog reduplicants and 2) test for phonetic correlates of prosodic phrase structure (primarily duration), as a measure of prosodic structure independent from the segmental alternation. This instrumental production study was motivated by Zuraw’s (2009) characterization of the u~optionality based on a written corpus; she proposed that the optionality can be accounted for by lexically-sensitive prosodic structure assignment. The results of this study provided partial support for Zuraw’s proposal: frequency effects weren’t found to be a predictor of the vowel variant; however, there was evidence of differences between prosodic structure that could account for the optionality. The current study added to the existing literature on variation, which lacks in describing reduplicants; it also provided new instrumental production data for Tagalog in general, but specifically for the optionality between the back vowels in reduplicants. [slides]

1st Qualifying ExamTagalog /u/-lowering: An instrumental study of spontaneous speech. Abstract:  The standard characterization of Tagalog /u/-lowering as a phonological process triggered in the final syllable of a prosodic word fails to capture the entire picture of the domain in which lowering applies: problems arise, specifically, for cases in which optionality is apparently at issue. Kaufman (2007) argues for a prosodic structure for Tagalog hosts and clitics that utilizes recursion. Such a structure may provide the details needed to capture the variability observed in /u/-lowering. The current instrumental study, examining realizations of native Tagalog forms in spontaneous speech, tested predictions that follow from Kaufman’s hypothesized structure. The data provided evidence for the lowering process, but show that /u/ does not lower all the way to the mid vowel, contrary to the description in the literature. More crucially, the findings to some extent support the idea that previously unexplained variability has an account that depends on a two-way distinction among prosodic domains (although they are also not entirely incompatible with a three-way distinction, as per Kaufman’s analysis). The prosodic categories under investigation in the current study are the minimal prosodic word, the maximal prosodic word, and the phonological phrase. [paper]

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