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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: The Influence of Phonological Structure on Articulatory organization in Turkish and in English: Vowel harmony and coarticulation Add Dissertation
Author: Suzanne Boyce Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Yale University, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 1988
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics;
Subject Language(s): English
Director(s): Louis Goldstein
Katherine Harris
Michael Studdert-Kennedy
Cathe Browman

Abstract: This study asks whether the basic articulatory organization underlying coarticulation is the same across languages. Two current models of coarticulation are examined: the look-ahead model, which claims that coarticulation results from the anticipatory sharing of features from upcoming segments, and the frame model, which claims that coarticulation results from the overlapping trajectories of core articulatory movements. In a sequence of rounded vowels separated by non-labial consonants, the look-ahead model predicts that rounding will spread to the consonants, producing a plateau pattern of movement, while the frame model predicts separate peaks for the vowels with a trough in rounding between. English data have consistently shown trough patterns. However, some languages, such as Turkish, have phonological rules that constrain vowels in a word to share one or several features. It was hypothesized that phonological feature- sharing of this type might favor articulatory feature-sharing for Turkish.

This hypothesis was tested by comparing lip movement and EMG data for similar Turkish and English sequences containing rounded and unrounded vowels with non-labial intervocalic consonants. Results showed that English speakers produced trough patterns while Turkish speakers produced plateau patterns, suggesting that the two languages employ different articulatory strategies. The frame model hypothesis that coarticulation results from combining overlapping core gestures was tested by adding and subtracting gestures independently of one another, and comparing the result to naturally produced plateau and trough patterns. Results again indicated different articulatory patterns for the two languages. It was suggested that English articulates vowel features independently, while Turkish allows feature-sharing at the articulatory level.