Vowel quality Change in Romanian heritage speakers
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Vowel quality Change in Romanian heritage speakers

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Presented at LSRL42, Utah 2012

Presented at LSRL42, Utah 2012

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    Vowel quality Change in Romanian heritage speakers Vowel quality Change in Romanian heritage speakers Presentation Transcript

    • Vowel Quality Change inRomanian Heritage Speakers SORINA DRAGUSANU WESTERN UNIVERSITY
    • Overview Heritage Speakers Other Literature Participants Methods Results Discussion
    • Heritage Speakers Who are they?  Term coined in Canada in 1970 (Cummins, 2005)  Child or adult speakers of a linguistic minority who grew up exposed to both dominant and minority language (Montrul, 2010)  Little or no access to language education
    • Heritage Speakers Who are they?  Simultaneous bilingual – learns both languages at the same time  Sequential bilingual – learns native language then the dominant one (up-to age 5)
    • Heritage Speakers What do we know about their language abilities?  Varied language abilities (low to near-native)  Stronger ethnic ties or larger linguistic market is linked with overall better language performance.  Sequential bilinguals perform better than simultaneous bilinguals
    • Heritage Speakers What do we know about their language abilities?  Speakers display both native and non-native pronunciations  Phonetic distance is a factor in preserving native-like pronunciation (Godson, 2004)
    • Heritage Speakers Why are they interesting to study?  The role of language internal and external factors  The emergence of new linguistic varieties  Diachronic language change  The very nature of the mental constitution of language and cognition
    • Research Questions What is the overall change in the vowel quality of heritage speakers of Romanian? What social or linguistic factors contribute to this change?
    • Romanian Vowel inventory i ɨ u e ə o a Frequency (Renwick, 2011): i 25% u 11% e 20% ə 5% a 20% ɨ 2% o 12%
    • Hypotheses If phonetic distance is a more prominent factor than order of acquisition then the central high vowel is preserved in HS Simultaneous bilinguals will be considerably more affected than sequential bilinguals; Sequential bilinguals pattern more closely with late bilinguals.
    • Participants Where  South-Western Ontario Heritage groups  Simultaneous bilinguals  Sequential bilinguals Adult groups  Late Bilinguals – learned Romanian in native environment,; English is second language learned in school  Age ranges from 15-30 at the time of immigration
    • Methods Data collection  Interviews  One hour long  Detailed language background, demographics, and language attitudes  Word list (Swadesh, 1971)  100 words  Frequently used words  Mainly single and disyllabic  About 14 token per vowel
    • Methods Vowel Normalization Process:  Since speaker’s mouth shapes and pitch differ we cannot do a one-to-one comparison. Normalization scales and overlaps the vowel space of groups of individuals for better comparison  Function found in the vowel package for R  Lobanov normalization technique for complete vowel inventories
    • Mean Formant Values for Control Individual vowel formant values Non-Normalized non-normalized 400 i 450 u central 500 e oF1 550 schwa 600 a 650 Control 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 F2
    • Mean Formant Values formant values Individual vowel for Late Bilingual Non-Normalized non-normalized 300 i u 400 central 500 eF1 o schwa 600 700 Dio a 2000 1500 1000 F2
    • Mean Formant Values for Late Bilingual and Control Individual vowel formant values Lobanov normalized Normalized Lobanov •The late bilinguals have the closest productions to the i i control -1 u •Changes are observed in the central u schwa and back vowels central •T-test results show significant change for F2 of 0 o e e schwa and back vowelsF*1 o schwa 1 schwa a 2 Control a Dio 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 F*2
    • Individual vowel formant valuesSequential Bilingual Mean Formant Values for Lobanov normalized Normalized Lobanov •Sequential bilinguals are much more varied in their i productions -1 i u •Changes are observed in all central u vowels central •Group results show o o significant changes for the F2 0 e values of back vowels, muchF*1 e like the late bilingual group schwa 1 schwa a 2 Laura a Control 2 1 0 -1 F*2
    • Mean Formant Values for Simultaneous Bilingual Individual vowel formant values Lobanov normalized Normalized Lobanov •Simultaneous bilinguals are the most varied in production i i of Romanian vowels -1 u •As with simultaneous group, u changes are observed in all central vowels central •Group results however show that this group has the most 0 e oF*1 o significant changes, e schwa especially in the mid vowels, [e] [ə] and [ɨ] 1 schwa a Control a 2 Simultaneous Bilingual 2 1 0 -1 F*2
    • Discussion & Conclusion Phonetic distance does not help heritage speakers distinguish [ɨ] from other vowels as predicted by the SLM and seen in Godson’s (2004) paper Simultaneous bilinguals have a difficult time mapping out the central vowel space of Romanian Frequency of use and the existence of minimal pairs are crucial to forming and maintaining the necessary contrast between this vowel and the mid-central In addition, F2 and the back vowels are more susceptible to variation and influence.
    • Thank you! Selected Sources:  Bullock, B. E. & Green, C. (2004). Phonological convergence in a contracting language variety. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 7(2), 95-104.  Clopper, C. G. (2009). Computational methods for normalizing acoustic vowel data for talker differences. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3 (6), 1430–1442.  Godson, L. (2004). Vowel production in the speech of western Armenian heritage speakers. Heritage Language Journal, 2 (1).  Locke, J. L. (1983). Phonological acquisition and change. New York: Academic Press.  Montrul, S. (2010). Current issues in heritage language acquisition. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics,30, pp. 3-23
    • Thank you! Please comment if you have any questions or would like to see more results and discussion.