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Article: Variability in American English s-retraction suggests a solution to the actuation problem

TitleVariability in American English s-retraction suggests a solution to the actuation problem
Authors
Issue Date2011
PublisherCambridge University Press. The Journal's web site is located at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=LVC
Citation
Language Variation And Change, 2011, v. 23 n. 3, p. 347-374 How to Cite?
AbstractAlthough formulated by Weinreich, Labov, and Herzog in 1968, the actuation problem has remained an unsolved problem in understanding sound change: if sound change is conceived as the accumulation of coarticulation, and coarticulation is widespread, how can some speech communities resist phonetic pressure to change? We present data from American English s-retraction that suggest a partial solution. S-retraction is the phenomenon in which is realized as an like sound, especially when it occurs in an cluster ('street' pronounced more like than like). The speech of English speakers judged not to exhibit s-retraction shows a large coarticulatory bias in the direction of retraction. Further, there is also substantial interspeaker variation in the extent of this bias. We propose that this interspeaker variation, coupled with the coarticulatory bias, facilitates the initiation of sound change. In this account, sound change begins when a listener accidentally interprets an extreme case of a phonetic effect as an articulatory target and then adjusts her own speech in response. This adoption of a new target requires phonetic variation that predates the change. Thus, sound change is predicted to be biased toward phonetic effects that exhibit interspeaker variability, and if sound change requires an accident that is rare, then sound change itself is correctly predicted to be rare as well. © Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183410
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 0.767
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 1.058
ISI Accession Number ID
References

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorBaker, Aen_US
dc.contributor.authorArchangeli, Den_US
dc.contributor.authorMielke, Jen_US
dc.date.accessioned2013-05-27T07:12:54Z-
dc.date.available2013-05-27T07:12:54Z-
dc.date.issued2011en_US
dc.identifier.citationLanguage Variation And Change, 2011, v. 23 n. 3, p. 347-374en_US
dc.identifier.issn0954-3945en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/183410-
dc.description.abstractAlthough formulated by Weinreich, Labov, and Herzog in 1968, the actuation problem has remained an unsolved problem in understanding sound change: if sound change is conceived as the accumulation of coarticulation, and coarticulation is widespread, how can some speech communities resist phonetic pressure to change? We present data from American English s-retraction that suggest a partial solution. S-retraction is the phenomenon in which is realized as an like sound, especially when it occurs in an cluster ('street' pronounced more like than like). The speech of English speakers judged not to exhibit s-retraction shows a large coarticulatory bias in the direction of retraction. Further, there is also substantial interspeaker variation in the extent of this bias. We propose that this interspeaker variation, coupled with the coarticulatory bias, facilitates the initiation of sound change. In this account, sound change begins when a listener accidentally interprets an extreme case of a phonetic effect as an articulatory target and then adjusts her own speech in response. This adoption of a new target requires phonetic variation that predates the change. Thus, sound change is predicted to be biased toward phonetic effects that exhibit interspeaker variability, and if sound change requires an accident that is rare, then sound change itself is correctly predicted to be rare as well. © Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011.en_US
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherCambridge University Press. The Journal's web site is located at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=LVCen_US
dc.relation.ispartofLanguage Variation and Changeen_US
dc.titleVariability in American English s-retraction suggests a solution to the actuation problemen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailArchangeli, D: darchang@hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.authorityArchangeli, D=rp01748en_US
dc.description.naturelink_to_subscribed_fulltexten_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1017/S0954394511000135en_US
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84555188276en_US
dc.identifier.hkuros232547-
dc.relation.referenceshttp://www.scopus.com/mlt/select.url?eid=2-s2.0-84555188276&selection=ref&src=s&origin=recordpageen_US
dc.identifier.volume23en_US
dc.identifier.issue3en_US
dc.identifier.spage347en_US
dc.identifier.epage374en_US
dc.identifier.isiWOS:000299020800003-
dc.publisher.placeUnited Kingdomen_US
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridBaker, A=26530768000en_US
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridArchangeli, D=16426886100en_US
dc.identifier.scopusauthoridMielke, J=7005923565en_US

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