Syllabification of American English by ewa18516

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									Syllabification of American
          English
           David Eddington (BYU)
             Dirk Elzinga (BYU)
           Rebecca Treiman (WU)
             Mark Davies (BYU)

     Brigham Young University and Washington University
    We are NOT interested in:
• Devising prescriptive rules of
  syllabification
• How clever linguists syllabify words
• Syllabification of the written word
       We ARE interested in:
• Describing how actual speakers syllabify
• Syllabification based on sounds not
  spelling
    Don’t we know how English is
         syllabified already?
• Dictionaries often disagree in their phonetic
  transcription (e.g. silly, hollow, balance)

  – Merriam Webster          si . lly
                             ho . llow
                             ba . lance
  – Cambridge                sill . y
                             ho . llow or holl . ow
                             bal . ance
      Previous empirical studies
• (Derwing 1992; Derwing and Neary 1991; Fallows 1981; Treiman,
  Bowey, and Bourassa 2002; Treiman and Danis 1988; Treiman,
  Gross, and Cwikiel-Glavin 1992; Treiman, Staub, and Lavery 1994;
  Treiman and Zukowski 1990; Zamuner and Ohala 1999)


• Focused principally on bisyllabic words with one medial
  consonant (e.g. lemon)

• Considered mainly monomorphemic words such as
  about not polymorphemic words such as lightly (light +
  ly)

• Used only 20-40 test words
   Findings of previous studies
• Stress attracts the medial consonant
  – lémon > lém . on
  – attáck > a . ttáck
   Findings of previous studies
• Initial lax vowels attract the consonant to
  the coda of the first syllable
  – letter > lett . er


• Initial tense vowels repel the consonant
  into the onset of the second syllable
  – laser > la . ser
   Findings of previous studies
Sonorants are attracted to the coda of the
 first syllable
  – silly > sill . y
   Findings of previous studies
Sonorants are attracted to the coda of the
 first syllable
  – silly > sill . y


Obstruents are pushed into the onset of the
 second syllable
  – aghast > a . ghast
                Problem
• Vowel quality, stress, and medial
  consonants interact with each other and
  must be considered together

• Other factors may influence as well
            Our innovations
• We considered:
  – Words with 1-4 medial consonants
  – Both monomorphemic and polymorphemic
    words
  – The syllabification of many words
  – Legality of consonants word initially and finally
  – Types of morpheme boundaries
     BYU Syllabification Survey
•   5,000 bisyllabic test items
•   841 participants
•   average of 22 responses per test word
•   survey completed online
•   choices based on sounds not spelling
    BYU Syllabification Survey
• Choose the syllabification of ‘victim’ that
  sounds best to you

  – VI / KTUHM
  – VIK / TUHM
  – VIKT / UHM
  – I’m not sure
    BYU syllabification survey
Factors we considered:
  – Vowel quality (tense or lax)
  – Medial consonant quality (nasal, liquid, obstruent, etc.)
  – Morphological boundaries
     • Compound word (sheepdog)
     • Transparent (actor)
     • Opaque (fifteen)
  – Stress placement
  – Legality of consonants word initially and finally
    BYU syllabification survey
• This is a work in progress

  – We may consider other factors
  – Statistical analysis still underway
    (interactions)
        Interpreting Results
C   O   N   S   T   A   N   T



    V1 C1 C2 C3 V2
        Interpreting Results
• Multiple regression performed
• Only p < .05 results discussed
• I’ll avoid numbers and focus on
  interpretation of them instead
         Results for VCV Words
• 60% of the variance is accounted for
• Factors that favor V . CV

  –   C is licit word initially (/b/ versus /Ŋ/
  –   V1 is tense (able)
  –   C is an obstruent (placard)
  –   A transparent or compound morpheme boundary
      precedes the consonant (tC, cC; rebirth, lawsuit)
       • Transparent >> compound
       Results for VCV Words
• Factors that disfavor V . CV

  – The word is written with a geminate consonant
  – The consonant is /r/, /l/, or a nasal
  – A transparent, compound, or opaque morpheme
    boundary follows the consonant (Ct, Cc, Co)
     • Compound >> transparent >> opaque
     • (getup, noisy, shadow)
       Results for VCV Words
• 60% of the variance is accounted for
• Factors that favor VC . V

  – The word contains a geminate consonant
  – C1 is /l/, /r/, or a nasal
  – A compound, transparent, or opaque morpheme
    boundary follows the consonant (Cc, Ct, Co)
     • Compound >> transparent >> opaque
     • (getup, noisy, shadow)
       Results for VCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VC . V

  – V1 is tense
  – A transparent or compound morpheme boundary
    precedes the consonant (tC, cC)
     • Transparent >> compound
     • (prewar, seashore)
                     Interactions
                     (monomorphemic)



      Final Stress                 Initial Stress
      V.CV VC.V      ?   Example   V.CV VC.V        ?   Example
Lax   86      13     1   buffoon   62       37      1   govern
Tense 90      8      2   erect     86       13      1   private
      Results for VCCV Words
• 75% of variance accounted for
• Factors that favor V . CCV syllabification

  –   CC is licit word initially (br- versus *dl-)
  –   C2 is /r/, /l/ or a glide
  –   V1 is tense (council)
  –   Any kind of morpheme boundary precedes CC (+CC)
       • Compound >> transparent >> opaque
       • (seaplane, biplane, supplant)
     Results for VCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor V . CCV syllabification

  – CC is licit word finally
  – C1 is /r/, /l/, or nasal
  – Any kind of morpheme boundary appears between
    CC (C+C)
     • Transparent >> compound >> opaque
     • (subjoin, bloodshed, fifteen)
  – A compound boundary appears after CC (CCc)
     Results for VCCV Words
• 69% of variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VC . CV syllabification

  – C1 is /r/, /l/, or nasal
  – Any kind of morpheme boundary separates the CC
    (C+C)
     • Compound >> transparent >> opaque
      • (subjoin, bloodshed, fifteen)
     Results for VCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VC . CV syllabification

  – CC is licit word initially
  – C2 is /r/, /l/, or a glide
  – Any kind of morpheme boundary falls before CC
    (+CC)
     • Transparent >> compound >> opaque
  – A compound or transparent morpheme boundary falls
    after CC (CCc, CCo)
     • Compound >> transparent
     Results for VCCV Words
• 34% of variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VCC . V syllabification

  – CC is licit word finally
  – A compound or transparent morpheme boundary
    follows CC (CCc, CCt)
      • Compound >> transparent
      • (handout, actor)
     Results for VCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VCC . V syllabification

  – CC is licit word initially
  – C1 is /r/
  – A transparent or compound boundary separates CC
    (CtC, CcC)
     • Compound >> transparent
     • (prewar, myself)
                                       Interactions
                                      (monomorphemic)
                                 Final Stress
                                 V.CCV VC.CV V.CCV ?               Example
Lax
Licit Onset Clusters             76          22            2   0   afflict
Illicit Onset Clusters           3           94            3   0   vaccine

Tense
Licit Onset Clusters             76          17            3   5   digress
Illicit Onset Clusters           8           86            5   2   maintain

                                 Initial Stress
                                 V.CCV VC.CV V.CCV ?               Example
Lax
Licit Onset Clusters             34          60            5   1   saffron
Illicit Onset Clusters           4           89            7   1   after

Tense
Licit Onset Clusters             74          23            1   1   program
Illicit Onset Clusters           10          84            5   1   flounder

Largest percentage in each category appears in boldface.
        Syllabification by cluster
• Several ways to determine permissibility of CCC

   – Are all three consonants licit word initially?
       • str- is licit given strange
       • rtr- is illicit *rtrange
   – Are all three consonants licit word finally?
       • -nst is licit given rinsed
       • -lnm is illicit *talnm
   – Are the final two consonants licit word initially?
       • nfl- is licit given fling
       • rtl- is illicit *tling
   – Are the first two consonants licit word finally?
       • -rkr is licit given work
       • -bst is illicit *rabs [bs]
    Results for VCCCV Words
• 70% of variance accounted for
• Factors that favor V . CCCV

  – CCC is licit word initially (astray)
  – V1 is tense (cambric)
  – A compound or transparent boundary precedes CCC
    (cCCC, tCCC)
     • Compound >> transparent
     • (drawstring, rescript)
    Results for VCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor V . CCCV

  – The first two consonants of CCC are licit word finally
     • (margrave, masthead)
  – There is a transparent boundary (CtCC; nonstop)
     Results of VCCCV Words
• 77% of the variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VC . CCV

  – The last two consonants of CCC are licit word initially
     • (coxcomb, contract)
  – A compound or transparent boundary occurs CcCC or
    CtCC
     • Compound >> transparent
     • (outgrow, nonstop)
     Results of VCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VC . CCV

  – CCC is licit word initially or finally
     • (bowstring, curtsey)
  – The first two consonants are licit word finally
     • (talesman)
  – The following morpheme boundaries
     • cCCC, tCCC, CCcC, CCtC, CCCc
    Results of VCCCV Words
• 81% of variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VCC . CV

  – The first two consonants are licit word finally
     • (darksome, sixty, empty, sanctum)
  – The following morpheme boundaries exist:
     • CCcC, CCtC, CCoC, and CCCc (??)
     • (porthole, endless, children, huntsman
       [hʌnsmʌn])
     Results of VCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VCC . CV

  – CCC is licit word initially
  – Final two consonants are licit word initially
  – The following morpheme boundaries:
     • CcCC, CtCC, CCCo
     • (outgrow, nonstop, centrist)
     Results of VCCCV Words
• 17% of variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VCCC . V

  – CCC is licit word finally (monster)
  – CCCo morpheme boundary (centrist)
    Results of VCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VCCC . V

  – tCCC, CcCC, CCcC morpheme boundaries
     • (rescript, outgrow, porthole)
      Syllabification by cluster
• Responses tend to break up illicit clusters
  – por . trait, chand . ler

• Licit CCC, CC C, and C CC clusters following a
  tense vowel are kept intact
  – pro . scribe, pro . scribe, poul . try

• Licit CCC, CC C, and C CC clusters following a
  lax vowel favor C.CC even if it breaks a licit
  cluster
  – as . tray, res . t(au)rant, pil . grim
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• 36% of the variance accounted for
• Factors that favor V . CCCCV
   – NONE
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor V . CCCCV
  – The first three consonants are licit word finally
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• 79% of the variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VC . CCCV
  – The final three consonants are licit word initially
     • (abstract)
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor V . CCCCV

  – A CCtCC morpheme boundary
     • (transplant)
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• 68% of the variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VCC . CCV
  – NONE
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VCC . CCV
  – The final three consonants are licit word initially
     • (abstract)
  – A CCCcC morpheme boundary
     • (marksman, textbook)
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• 83% of the variance accounted for
• Factors that favor VCCC . CV
  – A CCCcC morpheme boundary
     • (worldwide, swordsman)
   Results of VCCCCV Words
• Factors that disfavor VCCC . CV
  – The final two consonants are licit word initially
    Result of VCCCCV Words
• No one syllabified any word VCCCC . V
            Summary of Results
• Syllabification was highly influenced by:

  –   Morpheme boundaries
  –   Legality of consonant clusters word initially and finally
  –   V1 quality
  –   Medial consonant quality
  –   Stress
  –   Interactions among these factors

								
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