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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: Aspects of Intonation and Prosody in Bininj Gun-wok: An autosegmental-metrical analysis Add Dissertation
Author: Judith Bishop Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Melbourne, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Completed in: 2002
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonology; Typology;
Subject Language(s): Gunwinggu
Director(s): Janet Fletcher
Nicholas Evans

Abstract: This dissertation presents a qualitative and quantitative analysis of aspects of the intonation and prosody of an Australian polysynthetic language, Bininj Gun-wok (BGW; also referred to as Mayali and Gunwinggu). The theoretical framework is autosegmental-metrical phonology, as adapted to the description of intonation by Pierrehumbert (1980), Bruce (1977) and others. The analysis focuses principally on two dialects, Kuninjku and Manyallaluk Mayali (MM), with some reference to the Kunwinjku, Kune, Gun-Djeihmi and Kundedjnjenghmi dialects.

One of the principal motivations for analysing intonation and prosody in BGW is to provide input to the developing field of intonational-prosodic typology, from the perspective of a language which is typologically interesting on at least two counts: its position in the Australian language family, and its polysynthetic character. This dissertation provides numerous auditory as well as visual records relating to the contents of the analysis. The provision of auditory records is an innovation intended to improve the accountability of the phonetic analysis and to facilitate typological comparison.

The content of the chapters is as follows. In Chapter 1, I review the literature on intonation and prosody in polysynthetic languages (§1.2) and in Australian languages (§1.3), and highlight findings relating to possible parameters in intonational-prosodic typology (§1.3). I outline the grammatical and segmental phonological structures of BGW (§1.4) and describe the autosegmental-metrical theoretical framework (§1.5). I then discuss the ToBI model of intonation and prosody transcription (§1.6), and present the Bininj Gun-wok system of transcription (§1.7).

In Chapter 2, I discuss the corpus of texts analysed in the preparation of the dissertation (§2.2). An overview of the basic intonational contours is presented (§2.3–2.5) and the prosodic constituent hierarchy of BGW is described (§2.6), drawing on illustrations from across the six dialects. The intonational grammar is described in §2.7.

In Chapter 3, I review the literature on metrical structure in stress accent languages (§3.2), and analyse the organisation and derivation of metrical structure in the Kuninjku and Manyallaluk Mayali dialects (§3.3–3.4), and its relationship to the assignment of intonational pitch accents within the phonological word.

Chapter 4 presents an experiment to determine whether the acoustic correlates of metrical structure observed in other stress accent languages are also found in BGW (Kuninjku dialect).

In Chapter 5, I apply a process of elimination to determine whether variations in the phonetic alignment of high pitch accent targets are potentially related to distinct phonological categories, or are conditioned by phonetic or prosodic context (§5.2.–5.4). I analyse patterns of transitional high F0 (§5.5), and discuss their implications for models of phonetic implementation in BGW.

In Chapter 6, I present arguments for a previously undescribed level of prosodic constituency in BGW, the phonological phrase, and show how it is differentiated from other levels of prosodic constituency.

Chapter 7 describes the lexical content of phonological phrases (§7.3), patterns of 'prosodic integration' of accented words in phonological phrases, and the distinct phrasing patterns of unaccented words (§7.4).

Chapter 8 concludes the dissertation, providing an overview of the principal findings and their implications (§8.1), and discussing directions for future research (§8.2).