The Transmission of Vowel Harmony and Vowel Disharmony: An Iterated Learning Study

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/amp.v10i0.5439

Keywords:

Substantive bias, Iterated learning, Vowel harmony

Abstract

Substantive bias affects phonological acquisition in a way that learners may more readily learn phonetically motivated patterns. Some previous experimental work has proved the effect of substantive bias in a synchronic context, whereas how the bias influences diachronic changes has hardly been studied. This paper investigates the role of substantive bias in phonological transmission. We employed the iterated learning paradigm to compare the transmissions of two artificial languages exhibiting vowel harmony (phonetically natural) or vowel disharmony (phonetically unnatural). In general, participants performed equally well in the two conditions, and the proportions of the two patterns showed a similar decreasing tendency over generations, suggesting no bias effect in the process of language transmission.

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Published

2023-05-13