Browsing by Subject "kielitiede, fonetiikka"

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  • Khadgi, Mari-Sisko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Ghale is a Tibeto-Burman language of Nepal with very little previous research. This dissertation provides a description of the segmental and tonal phonology of Ghale as spoken in the village of Barpak, along with typological, methodological, and theoretical perspectives. This research presents a detailed description of the segmental phonology and a quantified description of tones, using both acoustic measuring and perceptual testing. To provide a holistic picture, the findings are discussed from both comparative and typological perspectives. The findings of the segmental phonology analysis show that Barpak Ghale has twenty-one consonant phonemes and six vowel phonemes. The syllable structure is (C)(L)(G)V(F), and it can be considered complex cross-linguistically. Although these findings are generally compatible with those from studies on related Tamangish languages, it is apparent that the segmental system of Ghale stands out as being more complex. Especially striking is the number of possible word-initial consonant clusters with the approximants /w/, /j/, /ɰ/ and /ɥ/. The findings of the tonal analysis demonstrate that Barpak Ghale has five contrastive tones and that the tone-bearing unit is the morpheme. If the morpheme has more than one syllable, the tone pattern extends across the syllable boundaries, throughout the whole morpheme. Some affixes have their own tone and others do not. A similar word-tone phenomenon has been reported in the related Tamangish and Tibetic languages. In the case of Barpak Ghale, the main cue for distinguishing tones is the fundamental frequency pattern. Two of the lower tones can be pronounced with a voiced word-initial obstruent. Such voicing can be considered a historical residue because, in many Tibeto-Burman languages, the low tones have developed from word-initial voiced consonants. Several of the tonal Tamangish languages have been reported to use breathy phonation as an additional cue on low tone words but, in Barpak Ghale, all the tones are produced with modal phonation. Previous studies have shown that all tonal Tamangish languages have four contrastive tones. This dissertation provides solid evidence that Barpak Ghale contrasts five different tones. Perception test results confirm that listeners can recognize words that form tonal minimal sets with great accuracy when heard in a tonal context. This dissertation also provides insights into tone research methodology, especially for previously understudied languages. The results highlight two important aspects of tones: the relative nature of tones and interspeaker variation. The relativity of tone contrasts has engendered the recommendation that, in tone research, words should be recorded in sentence frames. The results also show vast interspeaker variation among the different tones. Therefore, a further recommendation for tone studies is to use multiple speakers. From a theoretical perspective, this study examines the tone system of Barpak Ghale from the viewpoint of Dispersion Theory (e.g., Liljencrants & Lindblom 1972; Lindblom 1986; 1990). The main principle of Dispersion Theory, maximal (or sufficient) perceptual contrast with minimal articulatory effort, has been considered to be a shaping factor in phonological systems in the languages of the world. Maddieson (1977; 1978; 1979; 1991) has asserted two main claims regarding the principles of tonal dispersion: 1) a larger number of tone levels requires a wider f_0 space than a smaller number; and 2) level tones have more-or-less fixed, constant intervals. The results of this study challenge both of these claims.