Seriously, though (cf. yesterday’s blog), there were indeed several interesting presentations at the BAAP meeting. I wasn’t able to attend everything, but among those that especially captured my attention on the first day were
• a study by Esther de Leeuw et al showing that native speakers of German living in Canada produce an l-sound that is darker than that of monolingual German speakers but not as dark as that of Canadian native speakers of English.
• work by Rob Drummond showing that native speakers of Polish living in Manchester can have a STRUT vowel ranging in quality anywhere from Polish a via RP-like ʌ to northern ʊ. The longer they have lived there, the more likely they are to have abandoned the open vowel they were taught at school for the closer vowel that Mancunians actually use. (More here.)
• a plenary in which Sophie Scott discussed the neurophysiology of the brain. Trained phoneticians, and those good at learning languages, tend to have a more developed Heschl’s gyrus and more white matter (connectivity) in the brain areas crucial for language. (More here and in my blog for 15 October 2008.)
More to follow next week.