‘Challenging Sonority Theory: Evidence from neurogenic disorders of communication’
Speaker: Professor Martin J. Ball (Bangor University)
Sonority can be thought of as the perceived loudness, or clarity, of a specific speech sound. This is correlated with the degree of obstruction within the supralaryngeal vocal tract. So, for example, a low vowel (with the least amount of obstruction) has a very high degree of sonority, as compared to a plosive (the greatest amount of obstruction) which has a very low degree of sonority. Researchers have proposed that syllable shape in natural language is governed by the Sonority Sequencing Principle, and that consonant clusters types are predicted by the Sonority Dispersion Principle.
Part of the controversy surrounding sonority (and in particular the sonority sequencing principle and the sonority dispersion principle) is whether it is hard-wired into the brain, or is simply emergent, reflecting articulatory and/or perceptual constraints. If it is hard-wired, is sonority a part of the phonology, the phonetic planning component, or the phonetic implementation component?
In this talk I present some of the arguments put forward in this debate. In particular, evidence from the speech of adults with acquired neurogenic speech disorders is discussed in order to investigate these claims. If time allows, evidence will also be presented from initial consonant mutation in the Celtic languages.
Meeting ID: 329 835 600 559