CURRENT PROJECTS

Doubly Center-embedded Relative Clause Constructions in Korean

Doubly Center-embedded Relative Clauses (henceforth, 2CE-RC) have been known to be remarkably difficult to process and understand (i.e. Chomsky & Miller, 1963) in head-initial languages. Furthermore, Gibson and Thomas (1999) have found a missing-VP illusion in English where a 2CE-RC sentence may be perceived, wrongly, as equally or more grammatical if VP2 is omitted. However, little is known about 2CE-RC in head final languages. Thus, this study aims to provide a general understanding of 2CE-RC in Korean by examining the roles of animacy on processing 2CE-RC, and the missing-VP illusion in Korean. The structure of 2CE-RC consists of a main clause and 2 relative clauses, where the main clause contains a relative clause (RC1) surrounded on both sides, with the second relative clause (RC2) surrounded on both sides inside it as shown   in (1). To construct a 2CE-RC in head final languages, objects should be relativized, not subjects, and RC1 must be the ditransitive construction The structure and syntactic tree are shown in (2) and (3).

(1)[Main NP1 [RC1 NP2 [RC2 NP3 VP1] VP2] VP3]                 ex) The girl the man the cat scratched kicked died.

(2)[MainNP1 [RC1 NP2  [RC2  NP3 ti V1] Ni tj V2] Nj  V3 ]      ex) 빌의 여친은 빌이 그가 본 여자에게 준 명함을 찢었다.

Collaborators:
Janet Fodor (CUNY, Graduate Center), Boram Kim (CUNY, Graduate Center)

 

Unstressed Vowel Reduction in Brazilian Portuguese

This study investigates unstressed vowel reduction in Brazilian Portuguese (henceforth BP), which exhibits two apparent degrees of qualitative change in unstressed positions. Under Degree 1 reduction, the seven-vowel inventory is reduced to five vowels /i, e, a, o, u/ in the surface form, as the missing vowels /ɛ, ɔ/ are neutralized to /e, o/, respectively. Degree 2 reduction results in a three-vowel inventory, as the neutralized mid vowels /e/ and /o/ undergo further reduction to [i] and [u] respectively. Additionally, /a/ goes to [ɐ] in the same position. Previous analyses of vowel reduction in BP proposed by Barnes (2006) and Crosswhite (2001) were mostly descriptive, and it remains unclear whether the Degree 2 reduction in Brazilian Portuguese is prominence reduction or vowel undershoot. Furthermore, no experimental evidence, to the best of our knowledge, has been provided for the role of speech rate or change in formality/register on vowel reduction in BP. The limitations of previous studies motivate the present study, where we intend to gain further insight into unstressed vowel reduction in BP. Specifically, by comparing vowel reductions in normal vs. hyper-articulated speech, we examine whether the two patterns of vowel reduction are phonological or   phonetic in nature, and how duration influences the realization of vowel reduction in three unstressed positions: pretonic, non-final posttonic, and final posttonic.

Collaborators:
Jason Bishop(CUNY Graduate Center)