Colloquium: Testing P-map

June 1, 3:30-5pm, Harper 103
Shigeto Kawahara, Rutgers University

Several recent studies argue that some phonological patterns have perceptual grounding. In particular, Steriade has argued that speakers attempt to maximize the perceptual similarity between input strings and output strings. This hypothesis is called "the P-map hypothesis".

In part I, I support the P-map hypothesis through the analysis of Japanese imperfect puns. In composing puns, Japanese speakers put together two similar words/phrases to make a meaningful expression. I show that speakers prefer to pairs two words that are perceptually similar in composing puns. In other words, the principle of the P-map shapes verbal art patterns.

In part II, I report (on-going) similarity judgment experiments that test some premises of the P-map hypothesis. The results so far show that some premises are supported, but some are not.