No sooner had I got back from Kyiv than I was off to Leeds for the biennial Colloquium of the British Association of Academic Phoneticians (BAAP).
The presentations there were of very high quality. Everyone started on time and finished on time (thanks to tight chairing), everyone was audible, all the Powerpoint slides were readable, and as far as I could tell no one just read out a prepared text. The posters were good, too. And that’s more than you can say of some academic conferences I have attended.
At each BAAP colloquium members vote to award three prizes. One, the Peter Ladefoged prize, goes to the paper or poster that best reflects Peter’s approach to phonetics. This time it went to Adrian Simpson (pictured) for a paper on Percussives. (“The percussive manner [of articulation] involves the striking together of two rigid or semi-rigid articulators.” — IPA Handbook, p, 187) As well as the [ʬ ʭ ¡] of ExtIPA, he discussed, with wave-form support, the labial percussive that arises from the approach phase of the [p] in the [ʔp͡ t] of words such as stamped, along with the transient ‘epiphenomenal clicks’ that arise as a consequence of other articulations. Adrian is the kind of phonetician that I approve of: he personally demonstrated to us each of the sound-types he referred to. (I don’t care for phoneticians who can’t or won’t perform in public. If we want our students to make this or that sound, we’ve got to be able to do it ourselves.)
The two Eugénie Henderson prizes go to the best oral presentation and the best poster by newcomers. The first was awarded to Michael Ramsammy for an electropalatographic investigation of the weakening of Spanish l in preconsonantal environments. The second was won by Nicholas Flynn for a poster comparing twenty vowel formant normalization methods. He concluded that “vowel-extrinsic, formant-intrinsic” methods performed the best at normalizing vowel formant data for sociophonetic study. (No, I don’t understand this, either.)
Here are some new technical terms I noted among the ninety or so papers and posters at BAAP:
• attriter, a bilingual whose L1 has become subject to attrition through living in an L2 environment;
• enchronic, relating to the time at which an utterance is uttered;
• LADO, Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin (of an asylum seeker)
I have no idea what is meant by ‘7th- and 8th-order sliding-Gaussian-window lpc analysis’ (John Esling), nor by a ‘Bootstrap Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm’ (John Coleman). But perhaps they had their respective tongues in their cheeks when uttering these words. (If you feel strong, look here, here, and here.)