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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: A Phonological Study of Portuguese Language Variety Spoken in Beira Interior Region Add Dissertation
Author: Sara Candeias Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Aveiro University, Linguistics
Completed in: 2007
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonology;
Subject Language(s): Portuguese
Director(s): Jorge Barbosa

Abstract: This PhD-dissertation proposes a model for a phonological description of
the speech patterns attested in the Portuguese language variety spoken in
Beira Interior region (in Fundão municipality). Our major goal was to
present the main phone prototypes, which could be considered in the
description of the Portuguese language, taking into account minority
speech. To achieve our goal, the phonological domain was particularly
considered for the linguistic status of 'variety'. By phonological analysis
we mean description of the phonetic traces of the Portuguese BI regional
speech, resulting in the description of units (phones), of the place that
the units occupy in that Portuguese spoken language variety, and of the
relations that the units establish in an act of speech. For this, we
isolated all the characteristics that were found to be constantly used by
the surveyed speakers. All the characteristics were analysed to point out
prototypes using statistical form, which complemented the traditional
approach. Based on phonological explanation theory, which is consistent
with functionalism studies (Barbosa, 1983; Martinet, 2001) and generativist
premises (Mateus and d’Andrade, 2000), our speech sound inventory referred
directly to the finer-grained categories provided by phonetic theory. We
assessed the phoneme as a sound class with similar pertinent features and
those pertinent features were the phonetic elements detectable from
categorical perception testing (e.g. (Fry, 1970; Harnad, 1987; Pisoni,
1994). We described the perceptible (allo)phone which reveals standardized
distribution, according to phonetic context. We presented a standardized
description of (allo)phones and allophones' load rate considering their
occurrence in syllable context. With this approach, we asserted that it
would be possible to discriminate the most used allophone, the least used
allophone and the allophone that was in boundary regions. Through the
analysis of the occurrence load rate, we distinguished
optimal-center-of-gravity and phonetic-category boundaries of phonemes'
realizations. We also assumed a speech categorical perception model as an
operational stage. In this approach, we established it as both a result of
a stimulus/percept dichotomous process which was correlated with the
reviewing capabilities of discrimination and perceptual constancy, and a
process correlated with an acoustic signal's perceptual activity in which
most central structures of linguistic events were implicated. Based on
those methodological guidelines, we assumed that a distinctive unit (as a
phonemic pertinent feature) was one category recognized perceptibly in
speech continuum procedure.

Our belief was that phonological and phonetic-based of Portuguese variety
spoken in BI contributes ultimately to extend (or redefine) the linguistic
knowledge of Portuguese language. We propose that the linguistic
documentation of Portuguese minority speech can be an optimal start for
Portuguese speech system development process too.