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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Temporal Characteristics of Spanish-Accented English: Acoustic Measures and thier correlation with accented ratings Add Dissertation
Author: Amee Shah Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: City University of New York, Linguistics Program
Completed in: 2002
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics; Phonetics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Winifred Strange
Lawrence Raphael

Abstract: This study was designed to identify acoustic parameters of Spanish-accented English that give it the perception of being “accented.” Recordings of eight multisyllabic (3, 4, and 5 syllable) target words spoken in sentences by 22 Spanish speakers of English and five native speakers of American English (AE) were analyzed for temporal acoustic differences. Temporal characteristics of Spanish productions, including overall word duration, unstressed vowel duration, stressed-unstressed (S/U) vowel duration ratios, Voice Onset Time (VOT) and closure duration in intervocalic flaps/stops, differed systematically from native productions. Recordings of the sentences and excised target words were presented to native (AE) listeners (N=10) who judged the degree of accentedness on a 9-point scale. Degree of accentedness of target words correlated strongly (r = +0.82) with accentedness ratings for the eight sentences (used as a measure of 'global' accentedness.) Spearman rank-order correlations of overall word duration and native listener ratings of accentedness of target words varied from +0.04 to +0.56. Correlations of S/U vowel duration ratios and ratings of accentedness of target words varied from ‧'0.01 to +0.35. VOT duration of initial voiceless /k/ (but not /p/) stops correlated positively with accentedness ratings (+0.26 to +0.36). Closure duration of intervocalic /t/ yielded positive correlations with perceived accentedness (+0.29 to +0.59). Overall, results suggest that Spanish-accented English is characterized by systematic temporal differences from native American English, and that these temporal differences contribute to the perception of accentedness as judged by native American English listeners.