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Acoustics and obsolescence in Scottish Gaelic stop consonants Claire Nance and Jane Stuart-Smith

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Presentation on theme: "Acoustics and obsolescence in Scottish Gaelic stop consonants Claire Nance and Jane Stuart-Smith"— Presentation transcript:

1 Acoustics and obsolescence in Scottish Gaelic stop consonants Claire Nance and Jane Stuart-Smith University of Glasgow

2 Overview (Very brief) sociolinguistic introduction Stop consonants in Gaelic Research questions Methods Results Ongoing work Conclusion

3 Sociolinguistic context c.60,000 ‘speakers’ but numbers reducing Revitalization ongoing MacKinnon 2010 Framework here: obsolescence (Anderson 1982, Dorian 1981, Jones 1998, Babel 2009), and contact with English (Thomason 2007)

4 Lewis context Densest concentration (MacKinnon 2010) Lewis/ Leòdhas Lewis/ Leòdhas

5 Stop consonants in Gaelic Word initial /p h t h k h / and /p t k/ Word medial and word final / h p h t h k/ and /p t k/ (Ladefoged et al. 1998) (Also palatalised vs. velarised distinction) ‘Aspirating language’ (Jessen and Ringen 2002), [spread glottis] (Kingston, forthcoming 2010)

6 Examples boc ‘male goat’ bog ‘soft’

7 Examples smoc ‘smoke’ snog ‘nice’

8 Research questions What are the phonetic correlates of the contrast /p h t h k h / and /p t k/ in modern Gaelic? Is this system changing as the language undergoes obsolescence?

9 Methods Native speakers of Lewis Gaelic 3 older generation, 3 younger Recording conditions Word list data Non-parametric statistical tests

10 Durational measures Segmenting on the waveform in Praat What is pre-aspiration? (Ní Chasaide 1985) acaaca Vowel Preaspiration BV Noise Modal voice

11 Adapted Zero Crossing Rate (Gordeeva and Scobbie 2010) Ongoing work: Adapted ZCR in collaboration with Olga Gordeeva – still awaiting statistical analysis Compares and quantifies pre- and post- aspiration using by counting zero crossings on a band-pass filtered sound file Interested in noise from the glottis

12 Results: contrast /k h /, /k/ càl [kʰɑ:ɫ̪ ] cabbage, gal [kaɫ̪ ] steam

13 Results: contrast / h k/, /k/ aca ‘at them’ [aʰk ə ], baga ‘bag’ [pak ə ] vowel start Stop burst

14 Differences: word initial YP VOT longer Also proportionally

15 Results medial and final / h k/, /k/ YP Shorter pre-aspiration Pre-aspiration different n = 144 Stop closure

16 Results medial and final / h k/, /k/ YP Shorter pre-aspiration Pre-aspiration different

17 Examples: can you hear the difference? Older speaker: boc ‘male goat’Younger speaker: boc ‘male goat’ Younger speaker: smoc ‘smoke’Older speaker: smoc ‘smoke’

18 Adapted Zero Crossing Rate: Initial /k h / càl [kʰɑ:ɫ̪ ], /k/ gal [kaɫ̪ ] n = 108

19 Word medial / h k/, /k/ aca ‘at them’ [aʰk ə ], baga ‘bag’ [pak ə ] n = 72

20 Word final / h k/, /k/ boc ‘male goat’ [pɔʰk], bog ‘soft’ [pok] n = 108

21 Conclusion Apparent time differences Comparison to Ladefoged et al. (1998) Real time change?

22 Conclusion Gradient phonetic shift (Babel 2009) Obsolescence / contact / ‘normal’ change? Lexical attrition

23 References Anderson, R., Determining the linguistic attributes of language attrition. In Lambert and Freed, eds., The loss of language skills. Rowley: Newbury House Publishers Babel, M., The phonetic and phonological effects of obsolescence in Northern Paiute. In J. Stanford and D. Preston, eds., Variation in indigenous minority languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Dorian, N., Language death: the life cycle of a Scottish Gaelic dialect. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press Gordeeva, O., and Scobbie, J., Preaspiration as a correlate of word-final voice in Scottish English fricatives. In S. Fuchs, M. Toda, M. Zygis, eds., Turbulent sounds: an interdisciplinary guide. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter Jessen, M., and Ringen, C., Laryngeal features in German. Phonology, 19:2, pp Jones, Mari, Obsolescence and revitalization: linguistic change in two sociolinguistically contrasting Welsh communities. Oxford: Blackwell Kingston, J., Voice. Forthcoming in Phonology Ladefoged, P., and Ladefoged, J., Turk, A., Hind, K., Skilton, St. J., Phonetic structures of Scottish Gaelic. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 28, pp MacKinnon, K., Scottish Gaelic today: social history and contemporary status. In M. Ball and N. Müller, eds., The Celtic languages. 2 nd. ed. London: Routledge Ní Chasaide, A., Pre-aspiration in phonological stop contrasts. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Bangor Silverman, D., On the rarity of pre-aspirated stops. Journal of linguistics, 39:3. pp Thomason, S., Language contact: an introduction. 4 th ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

24 My supervisor and co-author: Jane Stuart-Smith Collaborator: Olga Gordeeva, Acapela Group My informants: Susan Bell, Christeen Combe, Aoghas MacCoinnich, Sarah MacKinnon, Colm Macqueen and all those who wished to remain anonymous Research funded by a Kelvin-Smith Scholarship, University of Glasgow Tapadh Leibh / Thank you


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