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Integrating continuity and discreteness in modeling phonic and lexical knowledge

Abstract

Departing from a mainstream tradition which attributes exclusive use of discrete parameters to phonology and almost exclusive use of continuous parameters to phonetics, this project lines up with recent trends in the literature which try to integrate these disciplines by taking them as complementary views on a single object: speech, in actual or virtual form. It also lines up with related tendencies in the psycholinguistic literature to approach morphological and lexical -semantic knowledge in terms of both symbolic and distributed representations. The distributed aspects of such representations, as well as the relationship between continuity and discreteness in speech production, are rationalized in light of dynamic systems theory. Phonic knowledge is no longer conceived, as in most of today's linguistics, as a series of symbolic representations organized into components and mapped onto static invariants. It is, rather, seen as a set of pulse-like marks that the acts of vocalizing and speaking leave upon a subject who emerges from the attempt to tune up with their rhythms, both macro or microscopic. The parameters of such dynamic units succeed in effecting a reduction on speech timing without actually effacing it. The speaker's phonetic activity and lexical knowledge and are intimately intertwined and are partly shaped by the coordination and synchronization of abstract intervals which imply or trigger the time course of some sound producing movement in the vocal tract. The unit which bridges the gap between phonic action and knowledge is the articulatory gesture, defined in terms that take the motor equivalence question into account. The relationship between knowledge and action is not so straightforward at the grammatical level, where the relevant units are fuzzier in character. There is, however, evidence that this very fuzziness derives from the distributed nature of lexical representation. The project focuses on Brazilian Portuguese and, in selected cases, compares it to European Portuguese in an attempt to show that action dynamics leaves its mark on both the lexicon and the grammar. To this end, it resorts to a strategy which is distinct from that of its international interlocutors and/or predecessors, who have sought the origin of phonic and grammatical categories in the self-organization of such dynamics... (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BARBOSA‚ P.A.; ALBANO‚ E.C.. Brazilian Portuguese. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, v. 34, n. 02, p. 227-232, . (01/00136-2)
BARBOSA‚ P.A.; ALBANO‚ E.C.. ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE IPA. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, v. 34, p. 2, . (01/00136-2)

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