Laryngealization and the phonological repertoire of a deaf Mexican adolescent : comparisons to deaf speech and the phonation of socially isolated children

Steinbergs, Rita (1996) Laryngealization and the phonological repertoire of a deaf Mexican adolescent : comparisons to deaf speech and the phonation of socially isolated children. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This thesis is a discussion of universal and innate features of phonology. Specifically, it looks at the speech of a deaf teenage Mexican immigrant who had no formal education and no access to a language which he could use as his first language. His speech, though difficult to analyze or understand, contained strong laryngeal features which could not be explained through language-specific rules. -- First, the thesis reviews Mexican Spanish phonology and compares it to the phonology of the subject's speech. It then compares his speech to that of deaf speakers who normally learn language upon entering a school system. The opportunity to learn a language i.e., sign language or speech, was not available to him, and so he grew up in a form of linguistic isolation. The laryngeal characteristics of his speech could not be accounted for using the literature on deaf speech; however, similar laryngeal characteristics are discussed in the literature on infant speech sounds. Thus, these qualities in his speech can be found in the first sounds produced by humans, before they develop language-specific phonological systems. The unique case of "Genie", an isolated, traumatized child who is eventually taught to speak, reveals that her initial vocalizations were also very laryngeal, but that this feature was quickly lost as her speech improved. -- Finally the thesis hypothesizes on the innate quality of laryngealization in speech, and the natural occurrence of laryngeals in terms of physiology, as well as the justification of their appearance through feature geometry. The proposal propounded in this thesis is that the use of laryngeals is universal and constant until they are replaced with subsequent language-specific phonological features. If this does not occur during "normal" language acquisition stages, then the features remain in speech until such a time as they are finally supplanted.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1102
Item ID: 1102
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 121-130.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 1996
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Deaf--Means of communication; Laryngeals (Phonetics); Innateness hypothesis (Linguistics); Spanish language--Phonology; Social isolation

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