Monday, October 18, 2010

John Esling's Talk and Workshop

Title: Laryngeal Phonetic Quality and the First Sounds of Speech
Date: October 29
Time: 4-5pm
Room: SN3042

Dr. Esling will also host a workshop for graduate students in Linguistics on the topic of submitting papers for publication. Time: 1pm. Room: SN 3036.

He's some more info about the topic of his talk:
Many languages have sounds that have been challenging to describe phonetically. Since 1993, we have built a team and a speech research centre at the University of Victoria for laryngoscopic phonetic experimentation that has attracted international attention as a site for articulatory phonetic research. Typically, a research opportunity arises in a language of pharyngeal/laryngeal interest, and researchers request to visit our facility to carry out the experimental component of their phonetic study. Colleagues and students at the University of Victoria have also initiated many studies of their own. We have analyzed glottals, glottalized consonants, pharyngeals, and laryngeals laryngoscopically in Nuuchahnulth (Wakashan), Nlaka’pamuxcín (Salish), Palestinian and Iraqi Arabic and Tigrinya (Semitic), Yi, Bai and Tibetan (Tibeto-Burman), Pame (Otomanguean), Sui (Kam-Daic), Cantonese (Sino-Tibetan), Thai (Daic), Korean (Altaic), English and Danish (Germanic), Akan (Niger-Congo, Kwa), Kabiye (Niger-Congo, Gur), Somali (Cushitic), and Bor Dinka (Nilotic). In addition to providing answers to a number of language-specific articulatory phonetic research questions, this quantity of data has allowed us to formulate innovative models of pharyngeal/ laryngeal (P/L) phonetic production and a revision of the theory of cardinal states of the glottis (SOG).

We have also begun to develop 3D models of P/L vocal tract function, incorporating data from new experimental formats including high-speed video (Paris/HEGP), EGG, laryngeal ultrasound, and videofluoroscopy (UF Rio de Janeiro). Models incorporate biomechanical simulation in real-time of the oscillating structures of the larynx, including the vocal folds, ventricular folds, and aryepiglottic folds.

Using our phonetic paradigm, we are also able to provide a fuller account of the acquisition of the ability to produce speech sounds. In our study of phonetic development in the first year of life, we have found that very young infants produce all places and manners of laryngeal sounds, and these previously ignored sounds play a vital role in priming the emergence of oral sounds, which predominate by month 12. We have found that infants first develop phonetic control through the exploration and mastery of P/L sounds, whether or not these sounds form part of their ambient language: All infants initiate articulatory control for speech production in the pharynx.