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Evénement No. 1944

Social information in the lexical system

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Auteur :

Janet B. Pierrehumbert

Affiliation :

Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

Lieu ou publication :

LPL, salle de conférences B011, 5 avenue Pasteur, 13100 Aix-en-Provence

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entrée libre

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Présentation :

Séminaire Exceptionnel de Janet Pierrehumbert mercredi 17 janvier à 14h

Résumé :

People acquire a lexicon from experiences with language. A surprising amount of statistical and social information has been shown to leave traces in the mental representations. This talk will present a series of studies on the nature and influence of social information at two different levels: the phonetic level and the morphological level. Within a linguistic community, variation in allophonic patterns and in lexical inventories is a natural consequence of social groupings. But what about the cognitive status of this variation? In the realm of phonetics, experiments reveal pervasive effects of social factors in acquisition, encoding, and generalization. Aggressive generalization interacts with word frequency effects, in ways that point to strong connections between social dimensions and phonological categories. The cognitive status of lexical variation in the formation of morphological systems has been less explored. I will present new results showing that people learn social associations of words and generalize these to novel words with embedded morphemes. However, these generalizations do not appear to be mediated by morphological decomposition, being instead driven by general word similarities. Taken together, these indicate that social dimensions have limited entry points into the core linguistic system.

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