Corpora: PhD studentship

From: Yuri Tambovtsev (
Date: Tue Jun 05 2001 - 21:25:25 MET DST

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    Yuri Tambovtsev.
    Novosibirsk, Russia
    Dear colleagues, I wonder if I could apply with my project for
    your PhD Studentship? I wonder if I can write my doctoral
    dissertation along the lines of phono-stylistics? I'd like to create
    the phonostatistical distances between some English and American
    writers. Here is my plan for the project:
    The Structure of the Frequency of Occurrence of Consonants in the Speech
    Sound Chain as a Clue of Typological Closeness of English Writers.
        Every English writer has a specific structure of the speech sound chain. It can
    be distinguished by its structure from any other writer. English, as every
    language, has a unique structure of distributions of speech sounds in its phonemic
    chain. One must find out how much English as the super structure, influences this
    or that English author and what unique can this author retain, as his[her own
    style. The distribution of English vowels will not be considered till the second
    stage of the investigation. Let's point out that consonants bear the semantic load
    in the word, not vowels. Therefore, it is more possible to understand the meaning
    of the message by consonants, rather by vowels. However, if we fail to recognise
    and distinguish two languages, then we resort to the structure of occurrence of
    vowels in the speech sound chain. While comparing English authors, it is
    necessary to keep to the principle of commensurability. Therefore, one must
    keep to the same genre or text type, for example, poetry. Actually, different style
    will give no hardship to differentiate. Having it in mind, it is not possible to
    compare texts on the basis of the frequency of occurrence of separate phonemes,
    because they may yield the same frequencies. The articulartory features may
    serve as the basic features in phono-typological reasoning. First of all, it is the
    classification of consonants according to the work of the active organ of speech
    or place of articulation (4 features). Secondly, it is the classification from the
    point of view of the manner of articulation or the type of the obstruction (3
    features). Thirdly, it is the classification according to the work of the vocal cords
    (1 feature). In this way, 8 basic features are obtained: 1) labial; 2) front; 3)
    mediolingual or palatal; 4) back or velar; 5) sonorant; 6) occlusive; 7) fricative;
    and 8) voiced consonants. One should take the values of the frequency of
    occurrence of these 8 features in the speech chain of one author and compare
    them to those of the others. On the basis of the "chi-square" test and Euclidean
    distance, I have developed my own method of measuring the phono-typological
    distances between different English writers. It takes into account the frequency of
    occurrence of the 8 consonantal groups mentioned above and builds up the
    overwhelming mosaic of the English language sound picture on the one hand,
    and of every original English writer on the other. Comparing one English writer
    to some others, one will receive some phono-typological distances between the
    English writers. One must use some English corpus since it is not possible to feed
    into computer many English writers.
    Address: Russia, Yuri
    Tambovtsev, E-mail:

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