UCL Laboratory for Language and Speech Diversions

Upcoming meetings

Meetings are held in Chandler House unless otherwise stated.

23th Jan 2015
Time: 15:15
Location: Chandler House Room 301
  1. Dr. Márcia do Carmo
  2. Nick Neasom
  1. ​Variation of word-initial pretonic mid-vowels in São Paulo Portuguese: vowel raising​
  2. Is there a preference for Vowel Raising in Synchronic Chain Shifts? Planning Notes on a 3 Alternative Forced Choice Experiment.
  1. This work focuses on the analysis of pretonic mid-vowels in word-initial context in São Paulo Brazilian Portuguese, e.g. /e/r.'vi.lha (‘pea’) and /o/.'fer.ta (‘offer’). These vowels are subject to the variable phenomenon of vowel raising, through which /e/ and /o/ are pronounced, respectively, as [i] and [u], e.g. [i]s.'qui.na (‘corner’) and [u].'tel (‘hotel’). Initially, using a corpus with spontaneous speech samples taken from IBORUNA database (ALIP Project – IBILCE/UNESP – FAPESP 03/08058-6), we analyse the pretonic mid-vowels within a sociolinguistic approach (Labov, 1991 [1972]), with the utilisation of the statistical package Goldvarb X. The quantitative results highlight the significant application of vowel raising for /e/ and the non-application of this phenomenon for /o/. For this vowel, vowel raising is primarily influenced by the level of education of the speaker. For the raising of /e/, the syllable structure is indicated as the most important variable, since the application of the phenomenon is more frequent when the front vowel is followed by /S/ or /N/ in coda, e.g. [i]s.'pe.lho (‘mirror’) and [i]n.'chen.te (‘flood’). The relevance of this group of factors to the application of vowel raising of /e/ is confirmed by the analysis of formant values of vowels obtained with recent experiments (funded by CAPES – Proc. 10895-13-2).
  2. This work-in-progress report discusses an upcoming experiment investigating the typological asymmetry between raising and lowering chain shifts in synchronic phonology. Raising chain shifts, where low vowels become mid, and mid vowels become high, in a particular morphological context, are relatively common. However, I have not yet discovered a convincing example of the reverse, lowering pattern. This is odd as these patterns are formally equivalent, and it is difficult to discern, a priori, a phonological or phonetic explanation. I report briefly on previous experimental results, followed by more in-depth discussion of the methodology of the new study.
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Contact information

Kevin Tang (Organiser)
Doctoral candidate
Department of Linguistics
University College London
Email: kevin.tang.10@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: 078 8098 3946

Past meetings

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