Incorporating Abstract and Usage-based Information: The Effect of Syntactic Context on the Production of Morphemes


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines how we use different types of information during speech planning. Specifically, it examines the interaction of abstract structural knowledge with detailed usage-based knowledge, focusing on the realization of subject-verb agreement suffixes in English and Russian. To produce an agreement suffix, one must be aware of both the abstract relationship between subject and predicate, and also the usage patterns that can make a suffix more or less likely in a given context. Accordingly, this project asks how the pronunciation of those suffixes varies with their contextual probability, and compares the results in English and Russian. The results help to show how the complexity of speech planning is navigated, and how the approach can vary across languages.