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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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Academic Paper

Title: A Comparative Study of the Tonal System in the Speech of the "Lao", the "Nyo" and the "Phutai" in That Phanom District, Nakhon Phanom Province
Author: Phinnarat Akharawatthanakun
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Payap University
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Gelao
Phu Thai
Subject LANGUAGE Family: Tai-Kadai; Southwestern Tai
Abstract: Compares the tonal systems and the phonetic characteristics of tones in the speech of the 'Lao', the 'Nyo', and the 'Phutai' in That Phanom district, Nakhon Phanom province in order to show the extent to which speakers of languages in the same language family who live in the same area and are in constant contact manage to maintain their distinct tonal systems and phonetic characteristics of tones. Nine villages (three in the north, three in the centre, and three in the south of the northern part of That Phanom district) were selected as study locations. Based on information from village headmen and villagers, each study location selected must be inhabited only by a single group. The data were collected from 45 informants (20 of the 'Lao', 15 of the 'Nyo', and 10 of the 'Phutai'. The wordlist consists of 150 items) 10 tokens of 15 words in two analogous sets. Auditory judgement was used to analyse the tonal systems while instrumental analysis to analyse the phonetic characteristics. As far as tonal system is concerned, that of the 'Phutai' is distinct from those of the 'Lao' and the 'Nyo'. The 'Phutai' systems found in this study still maintain the distinctive characteristics of the typical Phutai tonal system. The 'Lao' systems all vary from the typical Lao tonal system while all except one of the Nyo systems also vary from the typical Nyo tonal system. As far as phonetic characteristics are concerned, many tones in the speech of the three groups are found to be similar. Considering the relationship between how a group calls themselves and their language as well as the linguistic characteristics of their speech, it is found that in the area of study the 'Phutai' is the only group which is consistent in all of the three aspects. The 'Lao' and the Nyo' call themselves and their languages differently but the linguistic characteristics of their speech show a considerable amount of mixture. This research shows that a tonal study can demonstrate the patterns of language mixture among the ethnic groups that speak languages in the same family and live in the same area.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
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