Acoustics of Nasal Vowels in Yellowknife Dogrib and Chipewyan

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, linguistics, language

Principal Investigator: Jaker, Alessandro M (9)
Licence Number: 14165
Organization: Stanford University
Licenced Year(s): 2014 2013 2012 2009 2008 2007 2005
Issued: Jun 01, 2007
Project Team: Alessandro M Jaker (Principal Investigator, Stanford University), Rebecca Scarborough (Research Supervisor, Stanford University)

Objective(s): To measure the phonetic propoerties of vowels in the dialects of Dogrib and Chipewyan spoken in Yellowknife, and to see if nasal vowels are produced in a more dispersed (expanded) vowel space than oral vowels.

Project Description: The purpose of the Acoustics of Nasal Vowels project is to measure the phonetic properties of vowels in the dialects of Dogrib and Chipewyan spoken in Yellowknife, to see if nasal vowels are produced in a more dispersed (expanded) vowel space than oral vowels. This will tell the researchers about how exactly nasal vowels are pronounced in these languages, and whether nasal vowels are more easily confused with each-other than oral vowels.

The researcher will use a car to get from Yellowknife to Dettah, and his technology will be a Marantz CDR-300 CD recorder, his laptop computer and a computer program called Praat used for doing phonetics. The data will be collected at the Goyatiko Language Center by interviewing 3-5 native speakers of Dogrib and Chipewyan.

A copy of the recordings themselves, as well as any research papers that result from this study, will be sent back to the Goyatiko Language Center. In addition, the researcher plans to conduct a demonstration, in consultation with Goyatiko, of the computer program Praat for interested youth in Dettah. He hopes that this will stimulate interest in the language among the youth and raise awareness of language issues in the community.

The Acoustics of Nasal Vowels project is part of ongoing language documentation work on the Dogrib and Chipewyan dialects spoken in Yellowknife undertaken by the principal investigator (Alessandro Jaker), Jason Grafmiller (of Stanford University) and the Goyatiko Language Center. The larger goal of this work is to produce communicatively oriented teaching materials suitable for classroom use. The Acoustics of Nasal Vowels project is a very small project and very narrowly focused; however, any results that are relevant to language instruction will certainly be included in future teaching materials, as concerns, e.g., the correct pronunciation of nasal vowels or the correct spelling of words containing nasal vowels. The approximately 3-5 fluent speakers (most likely elders) will participate in this study as informants, that is, they will read lists of words containing nasal vowels to be recorded.
Fieldwork will be conducted between June 01, 2007 to June 30, 2007 at Dettah and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.