Sam Tilsen, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, Cornell University, Nov. 20, 2015, 3:30, Lattimore 513, "Selection-Coordination Theory"
Friday, November 20, 2015
513 Lattimore Hall
The Department of Linguistics Presents:
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.