Degemination and prosody in Labrador Inuttut: an acoustic study

Pigott, Paul Ernest (2013) Degemination and prosody in Labrador Inuttut: an acoustic study. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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In this thesis, I investigate the acoustic expression of Schneider's Law (SL), a consonant degemination rule observed in three dialects of Inuktitut (Labrador Inuttut, Quebec Inuttitut, and Northwest Territories Siglitun), the characterization of which has so far been based largely on aural-impressionistic data transcriptions. Given the expression of this rule, which conditions alternations between syllables that end with consonants versus vowels, thereby affecting rhythmic qualities of the language, I set out to perform instrumental measurements of spontaneous and elicited speech recorded in Labrador, Canada. My observations of SL from various acoustic viewpoints confirm its characterization in the scientific literature as a virtually exceptionless rule, and one that is consistent with dissimilation processes found in other languages - in particular, length contrasts attested in Latin, Japanese and Finnish. SL is further shown to operate independently from any system of recurring metrical stress. Labrador Inuttut itself seems to be devoid of any type of metrical conditioning in any of the standardly-assumed phonetic correlates of stress (intensity, duration or pitch). The acoustic results do, however, show a systematic pattern of phrase-final syllable lengthening, optionally covarying with FO boundary tones. The observed phenomena are consistent with descriptions of related dialects, except that the rule in Labrador Inuttut is shown to also include aspiration of phrase-final stop consonants, something not mentioned in the Eskimo-Aleut literature, but described in other languages (e.g., right-edge fortition in Blackfoot).

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11250
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 131-141).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Linguistics
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Inuktitut dialect--Phonetics; Inuktitut dialect--Prosodic analysis; Grammar, Comparative and general--Phonology.

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