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Sam Tilsen, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, Cornell University, Nov. 20, 2015, 3:30, Lattimore 513, "Selection-Coordination Theory"

Friday, November 20, 2015
3:00 p.m.
513 Lattimore Hall

The Department of Linguistics Presents:

"Selection-Coordination Theory"

Sam Tilsen

Abstract: Phonological theories commonly analyze speech utterances as composed of

hierarchically organized units, such as features/gestures, segments, moras, and syllables.

Yet it is not well understood why this hierarchical organization is observed. This talk

presents the selection-coordination theory of speech production, which holds that

hierarchical organization emerges from a recurring trend in speech development whereby

children acquire coordinative regimes of control over articulatory gestures that were

previously competitively selected. In this framework, segments, moras, and syllables are

understood as differently-sized instantiations of the same type of motor planning unit,

and these units differ with regard to when in the course of development they dominate the

organization of gestural selection. This talk will show how the theory provides

explanatory accounts of patterns in phonological development, cross-linguistic variation

in phonological structure, and articulatory patterns in speech.