Tutorials for Paper XIII (Mainly Phonetics and Phonology)

Topic 1. Classification

Essay question: Compare and constrast the approaches to the classification of EITHER vowels OR consonants in the IPA vs. generative phonology.

Topic 2. Syllable structure

Essay question: What is the structure of syllables in English?

Topic 3. Prosody

Essay question:  What are the functions of pitch and duration in language, and how can those features be transcribed?

Topic 4. Linguistic abilities of humans vs. non-human animals

Readings. (a) General


Coleman, J. S. (2005) Design features of language. In K. Brown (ed) Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (Second edition). Elsevier. 471-5. Electronically available within Oxford via OXLIP.

Demers, R. A. (1988) Linguistics and animal communication. In Newmeyer (1988), 314-335.

Dingwall, W. O. (1988) The evolution of human communicative behavior. In  Newmeyer (1988), 274-313.

Hockett, C. F. (1960) The origin of speech. Scientific American 293: 88 (Jan or Sept?) Reprinted in Human communication: language and its psychobiological bases: readings from Scientific American. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman and Co. 5-12.

(b) Case Studies

Bloom, P. (2004) Can a Dog Learn a Word? Science, Vol. 304, Issue 5677 (11 June 2004), pp. 1605-1606 PDF

Kaminski, Call and Fischer (2004) Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for "Fast Mapping". Science, Vol. 304, Issue 5677 (11 June 2004), pp. 1682-1683. PDF
See also this news article

Holy, T. E. and Z. Guo (2005) Ultrasonic songs of male mice. PLoS Biology, 3 (12), e386. 2177-2186.

Okanoya, K. (2004) The Bengalese Finch: A Window on the Behavioral Neurobiology of Birdsong Syntax. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1016, 724-735.

Pepperberg, I. M. (1998) Talking with Alex: logic and speech in parrots. Scientific American presents: Exploring Intelligence. Vol. 9 (4). 60-65.

Richman, Bruce (1976) Some vocal distinctive features used by gelada monkeys. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 60 (3), 718-724.

Richman, Bruce (1987) Rhythm and melody in gelada vocal exchanges. Primates 28 (2), 199-223.

Yu, A. C. and D. Margoliash (1996) Temporal hierarchical control of singing in birds. Science 273, 1871-1875.

Essay questions

What do you understand by the 'arbitrariness of the sign', and how is this notion relevant to linguistic analysis?

Does the language faculty constitute a mental module?

Critically appraise the proposal that recursion, displacement, and duality of patterning are characteristic of human language.

On what grounds do linguists say that the vocal communication system of humans is 'language', whereas the vocal communication system of, say, gibbons is not?