Friday, July 27, 2007

Cocktail Party

Part of what is described as the Cocktail Party Effect is how during a noisy cocktail party, you will be able to hear someone say your name in a conversation that you weren't attending to. It's an interesting phenomenon raising questions of how much information we're processing that we're unaware of, and of whether anyone ever has cocktail parties anymore.

I mention this to point out the fact that I have become susceptible to the Cocktail Party Effect for raised variants of /ay/, whether [əy], [ʌy] or [ɔy]. Occasionally, I whip around knowing someone somewhere has just said [ʌyd.l].

Monday, July 16, 2007

Another one?

It seems to border on ridiculous that I've set up yet another blog, especially a Linguistics blog, because I already have one of those.

However, as defined by the blog title: I'm a Linguistics Undergraduate, I am no longer eligible to post there. I could change the name of the blog and keep "underlinguist" as a strange relic (a calcified, lexicalized form which has undergone some semantic shift if you will), but that wouldn't be quite fair to the collaborators I have there.

I could, perhaps, post my occasional linguistic musings on my newer personal blog:

However, I don't think that would be quite appropriate for either my Linguistics thoughts or my personal thoughts. I'm using To Be Determined to record my personal thoughts, opinions and politics, and I don't think that my somewhat technically bent Linguistics posts would mesh well there. Also, I would like to insulate my Linguistics (as much as possible) from the whimsy of opinion and hold them to a higher degree of empiricism.

Thus, Val Systems. The title is a nod to my Philadelphian dialect, in which there is some confusion and growing merger between /au/, /au.l/, and /æl/, leading to perfect homophony between Powell and pal, and such interesting reanalyses as "wedding vowels" and the seasonal favorite "Deck the halls with bowels of Holly." I described in some detail how this homophony arises here at underlinguist.

Val Systems also reflects the fact that I am primarily interested in sociophonetics and phonological variation, although my interests stray rather broadly from those two points. Questions of acquisition, learnability, channel versus linguistic effects on language change, and the formal sufficiency of phonological theories are also points of interest for me.

This blog will probably explore these topics and others which arise in my Linguistics life.

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