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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 Phonetics and Phonology of Retroflexes Add Dissertation
Author: Silke Hamann Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Universiteit Utrecht, Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Completed in: 2003
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonetics; Phonology;
Director(s): Wim Zonneveld
Tracy Hall

Abstract: This dissertation investigates the phonetic realization and phono-logical behaviour of the class of retroflexes, i.e. sounds that are articulated with the tongue tip or the underside of the tongue tip against the postalveolar or palatal region. On the basis of four articulatory properties, a new definition of retroflexes is proposed. These properties are apicality, posteriority, sublingual cavity, and retraction; the latter is shown to imply that retroflexes are incom-patible with secondary palatalization.

The phonetic section gives an overview of the factors responsible for the large articulatory variation of retroflexes and discusses putative counterexamples of palatalized retroflexes. In addition, it describes the acoustic realization of retroflexes and proposes the common charac-teristic of a low third fomant.

The phonological section discusses processes involving retro-flexes from a large number of typologically diverse languages. These processes are shown to be grounded in the similar articulatory and acoustic properties of the retroflex class. Furthermore, this section gives a phonological analysis of the processes involving retroflexes in an Optimality Theoretic framework with underlying perceptual repre-sentations, based on Boersma's Functional Phonology. Evidence is presented for the non-universality of the retroflex class, and for the non-necessity of innate phonological features.

This study if of interest to phonologists and phoneticians, especially to those working on the phonetics-phonology interface.