Live from Saarbruecken, for Grant

Here’s a talk by some people from my department! There’s too much technical terms for me to make it sound terribly accessible on the fly so I’ll just tell you what they’re saying.

They basically want to know if segmental and suprasegmental information is processed together, or independently of each other.

The study used nonsense sequences differing in both segmental information and prosodic information, embedded in taken out from carrier sentences and spliced into the preposition ‘in’ each other; it was a two-choice classification task – participants had to decide if the stimuli contained ‘d’ vs ‘g’, or consisted of one word vs two words.

The predictions were subtle and clever enough to have intelligent members of the audience nodding quietly and with satisfaction, althoug

The results of the study confirmed neither of the predictions about whether processing was integral versus spontaneous independent. When there was an F0 (pitch) cue to word boundary the stimuli seem to have been processed in parallel – using it perhaps to anticipate when the target consonants would appear, although this was only a tentative conclusion.

In the question/discussion session, one questioner worries that the acoustic cues are inadequate because they don’t perform the same function out of context as they do in context. The presenter agrees that the stimuli don’t sound very natural, but this was not relevant for the purposes does not change the conclusion of the experiment.

And now I need to press publish before my very feeble battery runs out.

[Edited by the speaker herself!!!]


5 thoughts on “Live from Saarbruecken, for Grant

  1. Hmm, now plugged into the wall so I’m not depending on my rubbish laptop battery, I’ve spotted one very obvious typo, but one which I believe can be counterbalanced by the very elegant semicolon which I managed to introduce in paragraph 3 in spite of finding it unexpectedly more difficult to type and listen at the same time! More difficult than with pen and paper anyway, even though i can type much faster than i can write.


  2. The presenter has just edited my dubious rendition of her talk, so you can now certainly believe it. Now go and read some serious phonetics books and see what it means :) Never ask me about phonetics ever again :P


  3. Well, I will try to make sense of it, if only to give phonology a ranking on my “possible alternative careers to allow escape from the world of software engineering” list. Top of the list is still “vet”, the only flaws in that plan being the years of study required and the fact that I despise dogs. If I could specialise in cats and monkeys I think that might just be my dream job :-)


  4. Cats and monkeys? Yes, you could be the founding father of a whole new field of felio-chimpoid veterinary medicine. When i become unemployable after my phd, my dream job is to become a taxi driver. (I’ve considered being a bus driver but you might get bored with the route.)


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