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This paper aims to describe pre-aspirated and post-aspirated stops in an endangered language, Scottish Gaelic. Our small-scale study investigates several acoustic parameters of Scottish Gaelic stop consonants designed to measure the duration and noisiness of aspiration of the stop in its immediate phonetic context. Our study expands on previous phonetic descriptions of phonemic (pre-)aspiration in three ways: firstly, we provide a more complete durational description of Scottish Gaelic than previous work in the literature; secondly, we apply a new measure, band-pass filtered zero crossing rate (Gordeeva & Scobbie 2010), in order to examine the noisiness of aspiration in addition to durational characteristics. The results from this measure are presented in tandem with durational results in order to assess its usefulness for future research. Thirdly, we consider the possibility of change in the Scottish Gaelic stop system by examining data from older and younger speakers. Results suggest that band-pass filtered zero crossing rate is a useful tool and should be considered in future research on aspiration. Also, durational and zero crossing results indicate that younger speakers have shorter and less noisy pre-aspiration than older speakers. We discuss these results as a possible sound change in progress.
This paper reports on an acoustic analysis of the intonational patterns of declarative questions and wh-questions produced by a group of young adults residing in a rural town of south-central Spain. Question intonation has been reported as highly variable across and within Spanish dialects; recent sociophonetic research on multiple languages suggests that intonational variation may be accounted for by speaking condition (i.e. speech style) in addition to other linguistic and social factors. This study is an initial attempt to examine the potential interactions between speaking condition (read speech vs. task-based dialogue) and social characteristics (speaker sex) on intonational variation. First, it is shown that 12 of the 16 speakers undergo at least one style-shift between speaking conditions; these data are captured in variationist terms, providing empirical assessments about formal and vernacular variants for the two sentence types in question. Second, it is shown that speaker sex differences play a role in style-shifting, and this leads to the hypothesis that variation in declarative questions may have developed as a marker of local identity for Manchego men. All in all, this study offers empirical support that the findings on sociophonetic variation warrant consideration in current models of speech production.
This paper investigates the relevance of three prosodic parameters (alignment, duration and scaling) in the conveyance of contrastive focus in Catalan, Italian and Spanish. In particular, we seek to determine how the Effort Code is instantiated in the expression of contrastive focus in both production and perception. According to the Effort Code, putting more effort into speech production will lead to greater articulatory precision (de Jong 1995, Gussenhoven 2004) and this is related to the expression of focus in the sense that wider pitch excursions will be used to signal meanings that are relevant from an informational point of view. A dual production and perception experiment based on an identification task was conducted. Results for the production part show that contrastive focus accents have earlier peaks for all three languages but f0 peaks are systematically lower only in Italian. Syllables bearing the contrastive focus accents are also longer in the three languages. Regarding the results for the perception part, converging evidence is found not only for an active perceptual use of the three prosodic parameters present in production but also for language-specific preferences for particular prosodic parameters.
Mennonite Plautdietsch (ISO 639–3: pdt) is a West Germanic (Indo-European) language belonging to the Low Prussian (Niederpreußisch) subgroup of Eastern Low German (Ostniederdeutsch), a continuum of closely related varieties spoken in northern Poland until the Second World War (Ziesemer 1924, Mitzka 1930, Thiessen 1963). Although its genetic affiliation with these other, now-moribund Polish varieties is uncontested, Mennonite Plautdietsch represents an exceptional member of this grouping. It was adopted as the language of in-group communication by Mennonites escaping religious persecution in northwestern and central Europe during the mid-sixteenth century, and later accompanied these pacifist Anabaptist Christians over several successive generations of emigration and exile through Poland, Ukraine, and parts of the Russian Empire. As a result of this extensive migration history, Mennonite Plautdietsch is spoken today in diasporic speech communities on four continents and in over a dozen countries by an estimated 300,000 people, primarily descendants of these so-called Russian Mennonites (Epp 1993, Lewis 2009).
Upper Saxon (Obersächsisch /ɵːpoˁˈsɛksʃ/) refers to a group of dialects spoken by over two million people in the Free State of Saxony in eastern Germany. It is considered one of the eastern branches of Central German (Wiesinger 1983, Lewis 2009), with major phonological, morphological, and lexical differences from Standard German and other regional dialects.
This illustration focuses on the variety of Pashayi (also, Pashai) spoken in the Dara-i-Nur valley of Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan (approximately, N 34.682 E 70.581); the ISO 639-3 code for this variety is psi. According to Lewis (2009) there are 54,400 speakers of this variety, and about 216,000 speakers of all Pashayi dialects. The most comprehensive published study of Pashayi to date is Morgernstierne's two-volume grammar (Morgenstierne 1973, 1944), which is helpfully summarized in Bashir (2003).