Phonetically Natural Rules Benefit from a Learning Bias: A Re-Examination of Vowel Harmony and Disharmony. Martin, A. and Peperkamp, S. Phonology, 37(1):65–90, February, 2020.
doi  abstract   bibtex   
Substance-based phonological theories predict that a preference for phonetically natural rules (those which reflect constraints on speech production and perception) is encoded in synchronic grammars, and translates into learning biases. Some previous work has shown evidence for such biases, but methodological concerns with these studies mean that the question warrants further investigation. We revisit this issue by focusing on the learning of palatal vowel harmony (phonetically natural) compared to disharmony (phonetically unnatural). In addition, we investigate the role of memory consolidation during sleep on rule learning. We use an artificial language learning paradigm with two test phases separated by twelve hours. We observe a robust effect of phonetic naturalness: vowel harmony is learned better than vowel disharmony. For both rules, performance remains stable after twelve hours, regardless of the presence or absence of sleep.
@article{MartinPeperkamp2020,
  title = {Phonetically Natural Rules Benefit from a Learning Bias: A Re-Examination of Vowel Harmony and Disharmony},
  shorttitle = {Phonetically Natural Rules Benefit from a Learning Bias},
  author = {Martin, Alexander and Peperkamp, Sharon},
  year = {2020},
  month = feb,
  volume = {37},
  pages = {65--90},
  issn = {0952-6757, 1469-8188},
  doi = {10.1017/S0952675720000044},
  abstract = {Substance-based phonological theories predict that a preference for phonetically natural rules (those which reflect constraints on speech production and perception) is encoded in synchronic grammars, and translates into learning biases. Some previous work has shown evidence for such biases, but methodological concerns with these studies mean that the question warrants further investigation. We revisit this issue by focusing on the learning of palatal vowel harmony (phonetically natural) compared to disharmony (phonetically unnatural). In addition, we investigate the role of memory consolidation during sleep on rule learning. We use an artificial language learning paradigm with two test phases separated by twelve hours. We observe a robust effect of phonetic naturalness: vowel harmony is learned better than vowel disharmony. For both rules, performance remains stable after twelve hours, regardless of the presence or absence of sleep.},
  file = {/Users/mmaldona/Zotero/storage/PXW6QB84/Martin and Peperkamp - 2020 - Phonetically natural rules benefit from a learning.pdf},
  journal = {Phonology},
  language = {en},
  number = {1}
}
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