Deriving functional load of phonemes from a prosodically extended neighborhood analysis

Mafuyu Kitahara, Keiichi Tajima, Kiyoko Yoneyama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The functional load of phonemes is a long-standing, but not a main-stream notion in modern linguistics: that some pairs of phonemes distinguish more words than other pairs is intuitively plausible, but hard to quantify. Meanwhile, neighborhood effects in word recognition and production have been one of the central topics in psycholinguistics, leading to a wide variety of investigations. However, the Greenberg-Jenkins calculation, the most common definition of phonological neighborhood, deals only with deletion, addition, and substitution of phonemes, lacking any consideration of prosody. For example, homophones, which cannot be segmental neighbors and thus excluded in most neighborhood research, can be distinctive if lexical accent is specified. The role of onset/rhyme distinction in neighborhood calculation has been discussed, but morae, another basic unit of prosody, were not mentioned in the literature. We propose a novel method for calculating the functional load based on a prosodically extended neighborhood analysis. It is a frequency-weighted neighborhood density summed across neighbors for a particular phoneme. Accentual distinctions, morae or syllables, and context effects within a word are taken into account. The proposed method gives a better account for the difference in the acquisition order of segments across languages.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: 2013 Jun 22013 Jun 7

Other

Other21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
CountryCanada
CityMontreal, QC
Period13/6/213/6/7

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

Cite this

Kitahara, M., Tajima, K., & Yoneyama, K. (2013). Deriving functional load of phonemes from a prosodically extended neighborhood analysis. In Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics (Vol. 19). [060186] https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4800631