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Evénement No. 1792

HDR : Form, Meaning, and Dynamic Updating Across Levels of Representation

Type :

soutenance : HDR

Auteur :

James German

Affiliation :


Lieu ou publication :

LPL, salle des cours A003, 5 avenue Pasteur, Aix-en-Provence

Pays :


Date (de début) :


Date de fin :

Heure :



Conditions d'accès :

entrée libre

 Organisateur(s) :

 Partenaires :

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Présentation :

Résumé :

The grammar is often presented as a stable set of mapping relations which mediate between less abstract (e.g., phonetic forms) and more abstract (e.g., meanings) representations. In reality, these mapping relations are unstable and can be disrupted by forces both internal and external to the grammar. In this talk, I address two principal types of disruptions, and consider their implications for a theory of situated communication. First, I present studies on intonational meaning from three languages (American English, French, and Singapore English) which reveal that disruptions can occur when low-level constraints on well-formedness conflict with the need to mark contrasts in meaning. Since these effects imply a net loss of communication accuracy, the fact that speakers and hearers cope with such disruptions suggests a model in which the unstable aspects of the grammar are mutually recognized and negotiated. Drawing on insights from decision science, I show that the loss in communication accuracy can be minimized if speakers and hearers jointly model the linguistic choices involved and make rational inferences accordingly. Second, I present the findings of a dialect imitation study which reveals instability at the level of grammatical representations themselves. When viewed as a case of strong social indexing, dialect imitation can reveal the upper bound on the ability of speakers to modify their system in response to new input. Key findings of this study include (i) that socially-driven learning proceeds from individual examples to generalization across the lexicon, (ii) that learning largely exploits existing abstract representations, and (iii) that those representations can be as non-abstract as allophones. Related experiments on intonation show, contrary to previous studies, that imitators have a high capacity to reproduce phonetic detail, but that this is nevertheless subject to interference from the native phonological system. Taken together, these findings suggest that successful communication involves a much more complex level of coordination than is typically acknowledged. I discuss implications for the future study of situated communication, and outline how it can inform a new approach to the study of intonational meaning.

Programme :

Jury :

. Mme Cynthia Clopper, Professeure, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
. Mr Jonathan Harrington, Professeur, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, Allemagne
. Mme Pilar Prieto, Professeure, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelone, Espagne
. Mme Mariapaola D'Imperio, Professeure, Aix-Marseille Université
. Mr Noël Nguyen, Professeur, Aix-Marseille Université

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