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By Gary D. Prideaux

Over the last few years curiosity and study in experimental linguistics has shifted extra towards centre level, probably end result of the becoming popularity that simply theoretical formulations and speculations approximately language needs to unavoidably be verified opposed to the empirical evidence of language wisdom, use, and acquisition. to spotlight a few features of empirical linguistics, a convention used to be prepared in 1978 at college of Alberta, at which six sought after students have been invited to give colossal contributions. those papers are integrated during this quantity, including an epilogue summing up and discussing the recurrent issues of the convention, and a basic bibliography.

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Additional resources for Perspectives in Experimental Linguistics: Papers from the University of Alberta Conference on Experimental Linguistics, Edmonton 13-14 Oct. 1978

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But the preceding few paragraphs have been in the na­ ture of a longish digression on the nature of competence and performance in iconics, at a first approximation, which we now sum up by saying that it appears that in iconics, even more tellingly than in linguistics, 'competence economy' and 'performance economy' are in competition, even though the two effects involved—respectively, homogenization and individual facilitation—are basically orthogonal to each other. What determines the form of the present alphabet--what determines its having the letters it has in­ stead of some other l e t t e r s — i s , of course, the whole pro­ cess of iconic 'evolution', which, I have said, has both 'competence' and 'performance' components tending to in­ crease their respective 'economies'.

Or any doubt that the same o b s e r v a t i o n h o l d s for the p u t a t i v e h o m o g e n i z a t i o n s of adults? O r , in sum, can there be any doubt that an a d e q u a t e ' e x p l a n a t o r y ' iconic theory must rely on the results of o b s e r v a t i o n and e x p e r i ­ ment at ion? On the other hand it w o u l d be easy to overdo the n o ­ tion that what is to be ' e x p l a i n e d ' in iconics is iconic performance as contrasted with iconic competence. g. Chomsky ( 1 9 6 5 ) , is of course relevant to iconics a l s o , though in the latter d i s c i p l i n e the two notions are d i s t i n g u i s h e d less by their p u t a t i v e l y dif­ ferent relations to such notions as 'knowledge' and ICONIC PERSPECTIVES 39 "execution' than by their relation to distinctive criteria of economy.

The normalization mecha­ nism, however, might not be implemented by means of theactive computational process that we have outlined. Human beings may instead be equipped with arrays of all possible formant frequency patterns corresponding to all possible supralaryngeal vocal tract length. The listener, on re­ ceiving the incoming speech signal and making an estimate of the presumed length of the supralaryngeal vocal tract, would classify the incoming vowels in terms of the appro­ priate patterns inventory that would specify the total acoustic vowel space of the speaker producing the incoming speech signal.

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