The individual and the actuation of sound change
Keywords:sound change, speech perception, speech production, individual differences, imitation
This paper reviews current experimental approaches to sound change. An ongoing challenge in sound change research is to link the initiation of sound change within individual cognitive grammars to the diffusion of novel variants through the community. The articulatory and perceptual phonetic forces that bring about the pre-conditions for sound change and that explain its directionality are always present in the transmission of spoken language, yet sound systems are remarkably stable over time. This paper describes how recent approaches to the actuation problema converge on the idea that variability between individuals may be the key to understanding how some synchronic variation can become sound change. It then reviews the evidence for individual differences based on four areas of phonetic research (speech production, speech perception/cognitive processing, the perception-production link, and linguistic experience and imitation). This evidence suggests that differences between individuals may help to explain why sound change is so rarely actuated even though the phonetic pre-conditions are constantly being generated in spoken language interactions.
Babel, M. (2012). Evidence for phonetic and social selectivity in phonetic accommodation. Journal of Phonetics, 40, 177–189. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2011.09.001
Babel, M., McGuire, G., Walters, S., & Nicholls, A. (2014). Novelty and social preference in phonetic accommodation. Laboratory Phonology, 5(1), 123–150. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lp-2014-0006
Baker, A., Archangeli, D., & Mielke, J. (2011). Variability in American English s-retraction suggests a solution to the actuation problem. Language Variation and Change, 23, 347–374. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954394511000135
Baudouin de Courtenay, J. (1972). An attempt at a theory of phonetic alternations. In E. Stankiewicz (Ed.), A Baudouin de Courtenay anthology: The beginnings of structural linguistics (pp. 144-212). Bloomington: Indiana University Press (original work published 1895).
Beckman, M., De Jong, K., Jun, S.-A., & Lee, S.-H. (1992). The interaction of coarticulation and prosody in sound change. Language and Speech, 35, 45–58. PMid:1287391
Beddor, P. S. (2009). A coarticulatory path to sound change. Language, 85(4), 407–428.
Beddor, P. S. (2012). Perception grammars and sound change. In M.-J. Solé & D. Recasens (Eds.), The initiation of sound change: Perception, production, and social factors (pp. 37–55). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.323.06bed
Bertinetto, P. M., & Loporcaro, M. (2005). The sound pattern of Standard Italian, as compared with the varieties spoken in Florence, Milan and Rome. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 35(2), 131–151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025100305002148
Bohn, O.-S., Best, C. T., Avesani, C., & Vayra, M. (2011). Perceiving through the lens of native phonetics: Italian and Danish listeners' perception of English consonant contrasts. In Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 11-Hong Kong) (pp. 336–339). Hong Kong, PRC.
Browman, C., & Goldstein, L. (1991). Gestural structures: Distinctiveness, phonological processes, and historical change. In I. G. Mattingly & M. Studdert-Kennedy (Eds.), Modularity and the motor theory of speech perception: Proceedings of a conference to honor Alvin M. Liberman (pp. 313–338). New Jersey: Erlbaum.
Bybee, J. (2002). Word frequency and context of use in the lexical diffusion of phonetically conditioned sound change. Language Variation and Change, 14, 261–290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954394502143018
Bybee, J. (2012). Patterns of lexical diffusion and articulatory motivation for sound change. In M.-J. Solé & D. Recasens (Eds.), The initiation of sound change: Perception, production and social factors (pp. 211–234). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.323.16byb
Campbell, L. (2013). Historical linguistics: An introduction (3rd ed.). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.
Clopper, C. G. (2014). Sound change in the individual: Effects of exposure on cross-dialect speech processing. Laboratory Phonology, 5(1), 69–90. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lp-2014-0004
Cox, F., & Palethorpe, S. (2007). Australian English. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 37(3), 341–350. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0025100307003192
Dalcher, C. V. (2008). Consonant weakening in Florentine Italian: A cross-disciplinary approach to gradient and variable sound change. Language Variation and Change, 20, 275–316. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954394508000021
Davidson, L. (2011). Phonetic, phonemic, and phonological factors in cross-language discrimination of phonotactic contrasts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 37(1), 270–282. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0020988
de Jong, K., Beckman, M. E., & Edwards, J. (1993). The interplay between prosodic structure and coarticulation. Language and Speech, 36(2–3), 197–212. PMid:8277808
Dimov, S. (2010). Social and personality variables in compensation for altered auditory feedback. UC Berkeley Phonology Lab Annual Report, 259–282.
Dimov, S., Katseff, S. & Johnson, K. (2012). Social and personality variables in compensation for altered auditory feedback. In M.-J. Solé & D. Recasens (Eds.), The initiation of sound change: Perception, production, and social factors (pp. 185–210). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.323.15dim
Fowler, C. A. (2005). Parsing coarticulated speech in perception: Effects of coarticulation resistance. Journal of Phonetics, 33, 199–213. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2004.10.003
Garrett, A., & Johnson, K. (2013). Phonetic bias in sound change. In A. Yu (Ed.), Origins of sound change: Approaches to phonologization (pp. 51–97). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573745.003.0003 PMid:24163004
Giannelli, L. (1997). Tuscany. In M. Maiden & M. Parry (Eds.), The dialects of Italy (pp. 297–302). New York, NY: Routledge.
Giles, H., Coupland, N., & Coupland, J. (1991). Accommodation theory: Communication, context, and consequence. In H. Giles, N. Coupland, & J. Coupland (Eds.), Contexts of accommodation (pp. 1–68). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511663673.001
Grosvald, M., & Corina, D. (2012). The production and perception of sub-phonemic vowel contrasts and the role of the listener in sound change. In M.-J. Solé & D. Recasens (Eds.), The initiation of sound change: Perception, production, and social factors (pp. 77–100). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.323.08gro
Hansson, G. Ó. (2008). Diachronic explanations of sound patterns. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2(5), 859–893. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-818X.2008.00077.x
Harrington, J. (2007). Evidence for a relationship between synchronic variability and diachronic change in the Queen's annual Christmas broadcasts. In J. Cole & J. Hualde (Eds.), Laboratory Phonology 9 (pp. 125–143). Berlin, Germany: Mouton.
Harrington, J. (2012). The relationship between synchronic variation and diachronic change. In A. C. Cohn, C. Fougeron, & M. Huffman (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of laboratory phonology (pp. 321–332). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Harrington, J., Kleber, F., & Reubold, U. (2008). Compensation for coarticulation, /u/-fronting, and sound change in standard southern British: An acoustic and perceptual study. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123(5), 2825–2835. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2897042
Harrington, J., & Stevens, M. (2014). Editors' introduction: Cognitive processing as a bridge between phonetic and social models of sound change. Laboratory Phonology, 5(1), 1–8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lp-2014-0001
Hay, J., Warren, P., & Drager, K. (2006). Factors influencing speech perception in the context of a merger-in-progress. Journal of Phonetics, 34, 458–484. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2005.10.001
Hura, S. L., Lindblom, B., & Diehl, R. L. (1992). On the role of perception in shaping phonological assimilation rules. Language and Speech, 35(1–2), 59–72. PMid:1287392
Hyman, L. M. (1976). Phonologization. In A. Juilland (Ed.), Linguistic studies presented to Joseph H. Greenberg (pp. 407–418). Saratoga, CA: Anma Libri.
Hyman, L. M. (2013). Enlarging the scope of phonologization. In A. C. L. Yu (Ed.), Origins of sound change: Approaches to phonologization (pp. 3–28). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573745.003.0001
Johnson,K.(2004).Cross-linguisticperceptualdifferencesemerge from the lexicon. In A. Agwuele, W. Warren, & S.-H. Park (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2003 Texas Linguistics Society Conference (pp. 26–41). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Johnson, K. (2006). Resonance in an exemplar-based lexicon: The emergence of social identity and phonology. Journal of Phonetics, 34, 485–499. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2005.08.004
Johnson, K., Ladefoged, P., & Lindau, M. (1993). Individual differences in vowel production. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 94, 701-714. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.406887
Kammacher, L., Stæhr, A., & Jørgensen, J. N. (2011). Attitudinal and sociostructural factors and their role in dialect change: Testing a model of subjective factors. Language Variation and Change, 23, 87–104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0954394511000019
Kataoka, R. (2011). Phonetic and cognitive bases of sound change (doctoral dissertation). University of California at Berkeley.
Kim, M., Horton, W. S. & Bradlow, A. R. (2011). Phonetic convergence in spontaneous conversations as a function of interlocutor language distance. Laboratory Phonology, 2(1), 125–156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/labphon.2011.004
Kirby, J. (2013). The role of probabilistic enhancement in phonologization. In A. C. L. Yu (Ed.), Origin of sound change: Approaches to phonologization. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573745.003.0011
Koenig, L. L., Lucero, J. C., & Perlman, E. (2008). Speech production variability in fricatives of children and adults: Results of functional data analysis. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 124(5), 3158–3170. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2981639
Labov, W. (1963). The social motivation of a sound change. Word, 19, 273–309.
Labov, W. (2006). A sociolinguistic perspective on sociophonetic research. Journal of Phonetics, 34, 500–515. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2006.05.002
Ladefoged, P., & Broadbent, D. (1957). Information conveyed by vowels. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 29(1), 98–104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1908694
Lin, S., Beddor, P. S., & Coetzee, A. W. (2014). Gestural reduction, lexical frequency, and sound change: a study of post-vocalic /l/. Laboratory Phonology, 5(1), 9–36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lp-2014-0002
Lindblom, B., Guion, S., Hura, S., Moon, S.-J., & Willerman, R. (1995). Is sound change adaptive? Rivista di Linguistica, 7(1), 5–37.
Mielke, J. (2003). The interplay of speech perception and phonology: experimental evidence from Turkish. Phonetica, 60, 208–229. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000073503
Milroy, J., & Milroy, L. (1985). Linguistic change, social network and speaker innovation. Journal of Linguistics, 21, 339–384. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022226700010306
Moreton, E. (2008). Analytic bias as a factor in phonological typology. In C. B. Chang & H. J. Haynie (Eds.), Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (pp. 393–401). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Nielsen, K. (2011). Specificity and abstractness of VOT imitation. Journal of Phonetics, 39(2), 132–142. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2010.12.007
Ohala, J. J. (1981). The listener as a source of sound change. In C. S. Masek, R. A. Hendrick, & M. F. Miller (Eds.), Papers from the parasession on language and behavior (pp. 178–203). Chicago, IL: Chicago Linguistics Society.
Ohala, J. J. (1993). The phonetics of sound change. In C. Jones (Ed.), Historical linguistics: Problems and perspectives (pp. 237–278). London, UK: Longman.
Ohala, J. J. (2012). The listener as a source of sound change. An Update. In M.-J. Solé & D. Recasens (Eds.), The initiation of sound change. Perception, production and social factors (pp. 21–36). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.323.05oha
Olmstead, A. J., Viswanathan, N., Aivar, M. P., & Manuel, S. (2013). Comparison of native and non-native phone imitation by English and Spanish speakers. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 1–7. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00475
Pardo, J. S., Gibbons, R., Suppes, A., & Krauss, R. M. (2012). Phonetic convergence in college roommates. Journal of Phonetics, 40, 190–197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2011.10.001
Paul, H. (1888). Principles of the history of language. London, UK: Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co.
Perkell, J. S., Guenther, F. H., Lane, H., Matthies, M. L., Stockmann, E., Tiede, M., & Zandipour, M. (2004). The distinctness of speakers' productions of vowel contrasts is related to their discrimination of the contrasts. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 116, 2338. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1787524
Pierrehumbert, J. B. (2003). Phonetic diversity, statistical learning, and acquisition of phonology. Language and Speech, 46(2–3), 115–154. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00238309030460020501
Recasens, D. (2012). A phonetic interpretation of changes affecting dark /l/ in Romance. In M.-J. Solé & D. Recasens (Eds.), The Initiation of sound change: Perception, production, and social factors (pp. 57–76). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.323.07rec
Recasens, D., Sánchez Miret, F., & Wireback, K. (2010). Experimental phonetics and sound change. München, Germany: Lincom Europa. PMCid:PMC2913368
Rohlfs, G. (1966). Grammatica storica della lingua italiana e dei suoi dialetti: fonetica (Vol. 148). Pisa, Italy: Einaudi.
Sánchez Miret, F., & Recasens, D. (2013). Studies in phonetics, phonology and sound change in Romance. München, Germany: Lincom Europa.
Sankoff, G., & Blondeau, H. (2007). Language change across the lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French. Language, 83(3), 560–588. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/lan.2007.0106
Solé, M.-J. (2014). The perception of voice-initiating gestures. Laboratory Phonology, 5(1), 37–69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lp-2014-0003
Solé, M.-J., & Recasens, D. (2012). The initiation of sound change. Perception, production and social factors. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Benjamins. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/cilt.323
Stevens, M. (2012). A phonetic investigation into "Raddoppiamento sintattico" in Sienese Italian Speech. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.
Stevens, M., & Reubold, U. (submitted manuscript). The parsing of pre-aspiration in perception and production: implications for sound change.
Trudgill, P. (1986). Dialects in contact. New York, NY: Blackwell. PMid:3944058 PMCid:PMC214445
Vinnik, E., Itskov, P. M., & Balaban, E. (2011). Individual differences in sound-in-noise perception are related to the strength of short-latency neural responses to noise. PLoS ONE, 6(2), 1–8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0017266
Warren, R. M., & Warren, R. P. (1971). Some age differences in auditory perception. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 47(11), 1365–1377. PMid:5292254 PMCid:PMC1750179
Weinreich, U., Labov, W., & Herzog, M. (1968). Empirical foundations for a theory of language change. In W. Lehmann & Y. Malkiel (Eds.), Directions for historical linguistics (pp. 95–198). Austin: University of Texas Press.
Yu, A. C. L., Abrego-Collier, C., & Sonderegger, M. (2013). Phonetic imitation from an individual-difference perspective: Subjective attitude, personality and "autistic" traits. PLoS ONE, 8(9), 1–13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074746 PMid:24098665 PMCid:PMC3786990
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2014 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.© CSIC. Manuscripts published in both the printed and online versions of this Journal are the property of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, and quoting this source is a requirement for any partial or full reproduction.
All contents of this electronic edition, except where otherwise noted, are distributed under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International” (CC BY 4.0) License. You may read here the basic information and the legal text of the license. The indication of the CC BY 4.0 License must be expressly stated in this way when necessary.
Self-archiving in repositories, personal webpages or similar, of any version other than the published by the Editor, is not allowed.