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2004-06-24 - Colloque/Présentation - poster - Anglais - 0 page(s)

Delvaux Véronique , Demolin Didier, Soquet Alain, "Sound change as a result of mimetic interactions between speakers: Implementation of imitation in the laboratory" in LabPhon9. 9th Conference on Laboratory Phonology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Etats-Unis, 2004

  • Codes CREF : Phonétique (DI5312)
  • Unités de recherche UMONS : Métrologie et Sciences du langage (P362)
  • Instituts UMONS : Institut de recherche en sciences et technologies du langage (Langage)
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Abstract(s) :

(Anglais) The general framework of this research is the emergence and the collective structuring of phonological systems. In this study, we try to identify some of the mechanisms involved in the propagation of sound changes within a speech community. Our main hypothesis is that sound systems result from mimetic interactions between individuals. Mimesis is defined as a supramodal, motor-modelling skill which creates representations that are retrievable from memory. Its function is to represent events in a conscious, intentional and deliberate way (Donald, 1991). In the context of phonology, mimesis is considered as the competence to develop and amplify variation. Soquet et al. (2003) developed a methodology to generate and measure the modifications of phonetic realizations they recorded from speakers exposed to a simple interactive situation of communication. This study elaborates on these preliminary results. The objective is to characterize the dynamics of the speakers imitation behavior. The experiment involves speech productions coming from two dialectal groups of the French-speaking Belgian community, further referred to as the “source” dialect and the “target” dialect. Two speakers of the target dialect are first recorded : R1, R2. Eight speakers of the source dialect are selected for the experiment : S1 to S8. The experimental setting is the following: ideograms are presented on a computer screen. The computer randomly selects one participant to name an ideogram (within a carrier sentence). A participant can either be one representative of the source dialect (Sn), or a prerecorded speaker of the target dialect (R1 or R2). Each speaker Sn of the source dialect participates in three successive phases: (1) Sn performs the task on his own; (2) the ideograms are named alternatively by Sn and by prerecorded R1 and R2; (3) Sn performs the task alone again. Speakers are told they take part in a memory/attention task. The data are processed according to the method proposed in Soquet et al. (2003). The recordings of phase (1) are segmented manually; this segmentation is used to segment automatically the remaining items with dynamic programming. Several segment-related acoustic cues are extracted: segment duration, F0 contours, MFCC. Discriminant analysis is carried out based on the recordings of phase (1) in order to define the space that discriminates best between the items from the source dialect and the target dialect. Then, recordings of phases (1), (2) and (3) are compared within this discriminant space. The significance of the variance across phases is studied using Anova. This design allows to record the usual phonetic realizations of an individual (phase 1), then to quantify their potential evolution when the subject is exposed to a dialect different from his own (phase 2), and finally to assess the extent to which the potential modifications are preserved even in the absence of the stimulus, i.e. of productions from the target dialect (phase 3). Shortly speaking, phase (2) and phase (3) respectively address the issues of imitation and mimesis. References Soquet A. , Demolin D., Delvaux V.(2003). “Mimetic interactions between speakers : an experimental study”. 15th International Conference in Phonetic Sciences Book of Abstracts, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Donald M. (1991). Origins of the Modern Mind: three stages in the evolution of culture and cognition, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.