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The Acoustic Correlates Of ATR Harmony In Seven- And Nine-vowel African Languages: A Phonetic Inquiry Into Phonological Structure

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The Acoustic Correlates Of ATR Harmony In Seven- And Nine-vowel African Languages: A Phonetic Inquiry Into Phonological Structure

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dc.contributor.author Starwalt, Coleen Grace Anderson en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2008-09-17T23:34:52Z
dc.date.available 2008-09-17T23:34:52Z
dc.date.issued 2008-09-17T23:34:52Z
dc.date.submitted July 2008 en_US
dc.identifier.other DISS-2046 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10106/1015
dc.description.abstract This study compares eleven Niger-Congo languages with [ATR] harmony and seeks to determine especially whether the acoustic properties of the "voice quality" differences associated with [ATR] in nine-vowel languages, such as Akan, are present or absent in all, some or none of the seven-vowel languages. Of particular interest is the nature of the height 2 and 3 vowels of the nine- and degree 2 vowels of seven-vowel systems. First, this study corroborates previous work on nine-vowel systems by demonstrating that height 2 vowels [-ATR] [ɪ ʊ] frequently overlap with height 3 vowels [+ATR] [e o]. Next, it considers the question that the two types of seven-vowel systems recognized in African languages - /i e ɛ a ɔ o u/ and /i ɪ ɛ a ɔ ʊ u/ - may be manifestations of a single system. Given that degree 2 vowels of either seven-vowel system (/e o/ or /ɪ ʊ/) overlap in nine-vowel languages, how can we know which system we have? Do the acoustic correlates of [ATR] in nine-vowel systems help us to answer this question or is it reasonable for linguists to use indeterminacy as an argument for new theories of vowel features? Results confirm that F1 is the primary acoustic correlate of [ATR] in both nine and seven vowel systems: [+ATR] vowels have lower F1 mean values than their [-ATR] counterparts. Other acoustic correlates of [ATR], such as bandwidth or "Normalized A1-A2," have some value in understanding the acoustics of systems with [ATR] harmony. Center of gravity, another measure of spectral flatness, also shows promise: [-ATR] vowels have higher center of gravities than their [+ATR] counterparts. Evidence suggests the extreme ends of the center of gravity measures may be more perceptually salient than those in the middle. Speakers of languages with nine underlying or surface vowels tend to exploit center of gravity extremes for one of the [ATR] pairs, but speakers of 7-vowel languages tend to have more neutral center of gravity settings. The latter finding leaves open the door that some speakers of 7-vowel languages may not be manipulating tongue root position in differentiating [ATR] harmony pairs. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Silva, David J. en_US
dc.language.iso EN en_US
dc.publisher Linguistics en_US
dc.title The Acoustic Correlates Of ATR Harmony In Seven- And Nine-vowel African Languages: A Phonetic Inquiry Into Phonological Structure en_US
dc.type Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.committeeChair Silva, David J. en_US
dc.degree.department Linguistics en_US
dc.degree.discipline Linguistics en_US
dc.degree.grantor University of Texas at Arlington en_US
dc.degree.level doctoral en_US
dc.degree.name Ph.D. en_US
dc.identifier.externalLink https://www.uta.edu/ra/real/editprofile.php?onlyview=1&pid=1554
dc.identifier.externalLinkDescription Link to Research Profiles

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