Folia Linguistica Historica /1-2pp. 277-300 © Societas Linguistica Europaea GEOFFREY SCHWARTZ This paper seeks to combine the fields of experimental phonetics and diachronic linguistics. It is the view of this author that the study of speech acoustics and speech perception offers the most fruitful perspective on many difficult diachronic issues, addressing not only how languages change, but also why such changes occur. The heart of this paper employs this approach to provide an account of the complex palatalizations of unvoiced velar and dental stops in the history of Slavic. While a comparative study of Polish and Lemko (an East Slavic/Ukrainian dialect spoken in Poland) provided the initial spark for the proposed analysis, this perceptual perspective can be used to explain data from all of Slavic. 1. Theoretical approaches to speech perception - a brief outline The study of speech perception is an extremely complex field. An adequate theory of speech perception must draw upon a large number of scientific areas, including all branches of linguistics, audiology, physiology, neurology, psychology, and numerous other fields. Thus, scholars of many different academic backgrounds have attempted to tackle the problem, and the theories and models of perception are constantly being revised. The
folia linguistica historica – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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