Goodhue on responses to polarity questions

Dan Goodhue just filed the final version of his awsome doctoral thesis: Asking and answering biased polar questions

This dissertation explores how the interpretation of polar questions and answers to them is affected by prosody and negation. Phenomena analyzed include polar questions with polarity focus (prominence on the auxiliary), negative polar questions, yes/no responses to positive and negative polar questions, and the intonations used in such yes/no responses

Congratulations, Dan!

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another paper in laboratory phonology

Howell, JonathanRooth, Mats, & Wagner, Michael (2017). Acoustic classification of focus: On the web and in the lab. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology, 8(1), 16. [doi]

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production planning and deletion

New paper published in Laboratory Phonology:

Tanner, James, Morgan Sonderegger and Michael Wagner (2017). Production planning and coronal stop deletion in spontaneous speech. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology, 8(1), 15. [doi]

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Poster at PaPE

Poster at today’s PaPE:

Wagner, M. and McAuliffe, M. (2017). Three dimensions of sentence prosody and their (non-)interactions. Poster presentation at Phonetics and Phonology in Europe 2017, Universität Köln. [poster]

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she is you

Why you can’t say this in German (or at least it won’t sound great):

Coon, Jessica, Stefan Keine, & Michael Wagner (2016): Hierarchy effects in copular constructions: ThePCC corner of German. Poster presented at NELS 47, UMass Amherst.


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more on frowns

A while ago, I posted on two competing meanings of  ‘frown’ here. Just recently, Lynne Murphy  at separated by a common language followed up on this with this post, which generated some interesting responses.

Most spectacularly, it prompted the following confirmation that British vs. American English distinction indeed has something to do with it (even though I didn’t find consistent intuitions among the (few) people from the two sides of Atlantic that I informally asked about it at the time):  Josef Fruehwald observed the following amazing difference in the the respective sign languages (British vs. American) on Twitter:




The earliest reference someone posted in the comments section of the downward-facing smile reading so far dates to the 1930s–any earlier occurrences anyone?



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cat attack

Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron, Michael Wagner and Meghan Clayards: Locality and variability in cross-word alternations: a production planning account. Poster at Labphon 15 at Cornell. [abstract]


cat attack


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On the interpretation of reflexive pronouns

Alanah McKillen just finished her Dissertation On the interpretation of reflexive pronouns. You can read it on lingbuzz.

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prosodylab at WCCFL

Tomorrow, at 10.30 at WCCFL in Utah:

Liz Smeets, Michael Wagner (McGill): The syntax of focus association in German/Dutch: evidence from scope reconstruction

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Kilbourn-Ceron et al. at CLS

Last week we presented a paper on flapping and production planning at CLS:

Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron, Michael Wagner & Meghan Clayards (McGill University) The effect of production planning locality on external sandhi: A study in /t/

The intervocalic flapping of English coronal stops /t, d/ is nearly categorical when the VTV sequence is within a word but variable when a word boundary intervenes, and occurs only rarely across a large boundary such as a clause edge. This is pattern cross-linguistically common in external sandhi — but why are segmental processes at word edges often more variable, and what influences the rate of variability? Previous literature on phonological variability has proposed that phonological rules make reference to syntactic structure or that phonological process are tied to prosodic domains. In contrast, we propose that phonological variability is only indirectly influenced by syntax and prosody through the locality of production planning. This hypothesis is motivated by psycholinguistic models of speech production, and we test its predictions for English flapping in a corpus study and a production experiment. Results show that syntax may have an effect above and beyond prosodic boundary strength, and that the lexical frequency of the following word has a significant influence on rate of flapping, consistent with the LPP hypothesis.

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