An acoustic analysis of gemination in Eskimo and French - a spectrographic study of the effects on vowels of selected consonant and vowel features in Labrador Eskimo and St. Pierre French

Lafargue , Andre Gustave (1974) An acoustic analysis of gemination in Eskimo and French - a spectrographic study of the effects on vowels of selected consonant and vowel features in Labrador Eskimo and St. Pierre French. 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

The aim of this thesis is to investigate the extent to which surface phonetic contrasts are actually present in the acoustic stage of the speech chain, and to define the acoustic nature of such contrasts. This is mainly a spectrographic study of the three "extreme" vowels, (/i/, /a/ and /u/) to determine some of the acoustic effects on vowels of vowel and consonant gemination in two related languages, Eskimo (Labrador Inuttut) and French (St. Pierre et Miquelon dialect). The phonological status of vowel and consonant gemination in French is quite different from their status in Eskimo. In French these processes occur across word boundaries, whereas in Eskimo they are word internal. -- Minimal pairs in sequences of the types CVC, CVVC, CVCC, and CVVCC were recorded by two informants (one of each sex) for each dialect. The various displays available from a modified Kay Sonagraph provided the relevant data on vowel quantity and quality. -- The main conclusions concerning vowel quantity are as follows: -- (a) The vowels in the above four types of sequences are not always different in absolute duration but they always contrast in relative duration (i.e., as fractions of the duration of the total sequence). -- (b) The gemination of a following consonant is found to have a more reducing effect on the duration of a preceding vowel in Eskimo (a language which has gemination within word boundaries) than in French (a language which has gemination across word boundaries). -- (c) Gemination of a following consonant is found to have a greater effect on the duration of a preceding single vowel on a preceding double vowel. -- The concepts of co-articulation effects and language-specific neutral tongue positions provided bases for tentative explanations for some of variations in duration. -- Measurements of formant frequencies and intensities suggested the following generalizations about vowel quality: -- (a) Whereas all three single vowels in Eskimo are more mid-central than their corresponding double correlates, this is not true for the French high-back vowel. -- (b) The effect on its quality of the doubling of a vowel is greater than the effect of the gemination of the following consonant. -- (c) Formant intensities provide more consistent cues than do formant frequencies for the single/double vowel distinction. -- The final conclusion of this research is that vowel doubling has a greater effect on both vowel quantity and quality in both languages than has the gemination of the following consonant.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7579
Item ID: 7579
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 114-119.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 1974
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: French language--Vowels; Inuit language--Vowels

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