Integrating Phonological and Psycholinguistic Theory

Instructor(s): Matt Goldrick

Understanding the mental representations and processes underlying the production of speech requires integrating insights from both psycholinguistics and linguistic theory. The goal of this course is to help students gain the tools necessary to develop novel combinations of these research traditions. To introduce a psycholinguistic perspective on the processing of phonological structure, readings and lectures will examine the retrieval of phonological information from long term memory and the preparation of context-specific utterance plans. Through lectures, readings, and exercises, we will then examine how principles of phonological theory (focusing on Optimality Theory and Harmonic Grammar) can be integrated with psycholinguistic processing theories. Group projects will utilize computational simulations and mathematical analyses to examine the empirical predictions of these integrated models. Example project topics include: allophonic and allomorphic relationships in speech errors; the effect of probabilistic phonotactics on speech errors and reaction times; and utilizing markedness to understand aphasic error patterns.

Students should be familiar with basic concepts of phonological theory (in particular, Optimality Theory). No background knowledge in psycholinguistics, computer simulations, or mathematical analysis will be assumed; however, for advanced students, additional readings and exercises will be available to pursue course topics in greater depth.