MCQLL, 4/10 – Wilfred Yau

At next week’s meeting, Wilfred will be presenting the following paper: Mao, L., & Hulden, M. (2016). How regular is Japanese loanword adaptation? A computational study. Please find the abstract below:
Abstract: The modifications that foreign loanwords undergo when adapted into Japanese have been the subject of much study in linguistics. The scholarly interest of the topic can be attributed to the fact that Japanese loanwords undergo a complex series of phonological adaptations, something which has been puzzling scholars for decades. While previous studies of Japanese loanword accommodation have focused on specific phonological phenomena of limited scope, the current study leverages computational methods to provide a more complete description of all the sound changes that occur when adopting English words into Japanese. To investigate this, we have de- veloped a parallel corpus of 250 English transcriptions and their respective Japanese equivalents. These words were then used to develop a wide-coverage finite state transducer based phonolog- ical grammar that mimics the behavior of the Japanese adaptation process, mapping e.g cream[kôi:m] to [kW.Ri:.mW]. By developing rules with the goal of accounting completely for a large number of borrowings, and analyzing forms mistakenly generated by the system, we discover an internal inconsistency within the loanword phonology of the Japanese language, something arguably underestimated by previous studies. The result of the investigation suggests that there are multiple dimensions that shape the output form of the current Japanese loanwords. These dimensions include orthography, phonetics, and historical changes. (link to paper:
We will meet 5:30pm Wednesday in room 117. Food will be provided.

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