New developments in Frisian phonetics

Activiteit: Toespraak of presentatieAcademisch


New developments in Frisian phonetics. This presentation focuses on West Frisian, and more specifically on the variety spoken by Clay Frisian speakers. We will present data on phonetic aspects of Frisian that have not been observed before or that show how new techniques of investigation, such as electroglottagraphy (Egg), aerodynamics and ultrasound, allow deeper understanding of known and unknown phenomena. We will focus on three issues: diphthongs, nasalization and glottalization.Frisian has in total 43 vocalic segments: nine short monophthongs [i y u ɪ ø o ɛ ɔ a], nine long monophthongs [iː yː uː ɪː øː oː ɛː ɔː aː], five falling diphthongs [aj ɛj ʌɥ ɔw oj], six centering diphthongs [iə yə uə ɪə øə oə] and fourteen rising or breaking diphthongs [ja jɛ jɔ jɪ jø jo jy ju wa wɛ wɪ wø wo wi]. These sounds have previously been studied by De Graaf (1985) and De Graaf & Tiersma (1980). Ultrasound techniques allow to go a step further than previous studies in the description of these sounds, as they provide a the description of the articulatory trajectories of the tongue. This helps to understand the articulatory strategies used in Frisian to produce diphthongs and particularly those involved in the process of breaking (Van der Meer 1985).Aerodynamics techniques coupled with present-day acoustic tools allow describing phenomena like nasal assimilation and the nasalization of vowels in detail. The association of nasal flow traces with acoustics data provide a description of regressive nasal assimilation phenomena and an explanation of the occurrence of syllabic nasals.A phonetic aspect of Frisian that has not yet been described is glottalization in long vowels. This suggests that similar to Danish, Frisian has a kind of stød, i.e., a kind of creaky voice characterizing certain syllabic rhymes in specific conditions. In Frisian, stød is found in stressed syllables with a long vowel or a short vowel followed by a sonorant consonant. When a syllable has stød its location seems predictable: stød occurs mainly within long vowels or in the following sonorant if the vowel is short. This phenomenon is likely related to the prosodic characteristics that are still in need of a detailed description. The prosody of Frisian is assumed to be very similar to the general characteristics of Germanic languages and in particular to Dutch. However there might be some specificities in Frisian prosody that are still not described. These prosodic features might also be important to study some sociophonetic characteristics of the various Frisian varieties.The presentation will illustrate these points with recordings of several speakers of Clay Frisian. Finally, the contribution of these ‘Frisian phenomena’ to theoretical aspects of phonetics and issues about universals of language will be discussed.
Periode23 apr 2018
Mate van erkenningInternationaal