From: Hugues Ndinga-Koumba-Binza <13751719sun.ac.za>
Subject: Phonetic and Phonological Aspects of the Civili Vowel Duration: An experimental approach
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Institution: University of Stellenbosch
Program: Department of African Languages
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007
Author: Hugues Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza
Dissertation Title: Phonetic and Phonological Aspects of the Civili Vowel Duration: An experimental approach
Dissertation URL: http://etd.sun.ac.za/jspui/handle/10019/882
Subject Language(s): Vili (vif)
Language Family(ies): Central Narrow Bantu H
Justus Christiaan Roux
This dissertation is an experimental investigation of vowel duration. It
focuses on phonetic and phonological aspects of vowel duration in Civili,
an African language spoken in Gabon and some of its neighboring countries.
It attempts to bring new insights into the phenomenon of vowel lengthening,
and to assess the implications of these insights for standardizing the
orthography of this language.
The dissertation contains six chapters. In Chapter 1, the specific aims of
and rationale for the study are given and the research problem is
demarcated. Furthermore, the potential impact of the study, the
methodological approach adopted, and the sociolinguistic situation of
Civili are presented.
Chapter 2 introduces the issues surrounding Civili vowel duration as the
research problem of the study. The problem is presented as being both
descriptive and orthographic in nature. In Chapter 2, the data and analyses
of previous studies related to the phenomenon are assessed. This chapter
also shows the importance of using both acoustic and perception data when
studying vowel duration in Civili.
Chapter 3 focuses on the physical nature of Civili vowel duration. It
reports on the acoustic analyses and vowel duration measurements performed
on selected words from the corpus. The chapter aims to show that natural
duration is one of the acoustic features related to vowels which should be
taken into consideration in various phonological analyses.
Chapter 4 focuses on the auditory nature of Civili vowel duration. It
introduces a perception experiment conducted with native speakers of Civili
during this study. The aim of this experiment was to determine the
perceived duration of vowels. This chapter contains the obtained
experimental data and analyses thereof.
Chapter 5 provides detail on the input of experimental data into the
phonological description of vowel duration in Civili. This chapter also
re-explores the phonological analyses from previous studies, as well as
from the present study which integrates phonetic (experimental) data and
Chapter 6 draws the general conclusion of this study on the Civili vowel
duration by listing the acoustic, the perceptual, and the phonological
findings. This chapter also makes recommendations for the standardisation
of the Civili orthography as far as its vowel system is concerned. Then,
the chapter presents implications for phonological theory and human
language technologies. Finally, it provides suggestions for further
research, including research on other Gabonese languages.
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