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Combining research methods for an experimental study of West Central Bavarian vowels in adults and children
Combining research methods for an experimental study of West Central Bavarian vowels in adults and children
The overall goal of this thesis was to systematically measure defining vowel characteristics of the West Central Bavarian (WCB) dialect for an acoustically based analysis of the Bavarian vowel system and simultaneously investigate to what extent these characteristics are being preserved across generations and if there is a sound change in progress observable in which young speakers show more characteristics of Standard German (SG) than old on some Bavarian vowel attributes. In order to address these aims we conducted acoustic recordings of WCB speaking adults and WCB speaking primary school children which were then compared to each other with an apparent-time analysis. For a more accurate view of changes in progress we combined this apparent-time comparison with longitudinal data from the WCB children, obtained at annually intervals expanding over three years. The acoustic data was enhanced by articulatory data gained from ultrasound recordings of a subset of the same WCB speaking children at two timepoints with one year interval. Analyses of the acoustic data revealed both adult/child and longitudinal changes in the direction of the standard in the children’s tendency towards a merger of two open vowels and a collapse of a long/short consonant contrast, neither of which exist in SG. There was some evidence that children in comparison with adults were beginning to develop both tensity and rounding contrasts which occur in SG but not WCB. There were no observed changes to the pattern of opening and closing diphthongs which differ markedly between the two varieties. Also, within the WCB front vowel that resulted historically from /l/-vocalization and for which articulatory data from a subset of the children was put into relation with the acoustic measures no changes were observed. The general conclusion is that WCB change is most likely to occur as a consequence of exaggerating phonetic variation that already happens to be in the direction of the standard and therefore internal factors motivated by general principles of vowel change might play a more decisive role in inducing a shift than external factors like dialect contact.
sound change, child speech, West Central Bavarian dialect, longitudinal analysis, apparent-time analysis, acoustic data, articulatory data
Wolfswinkler, Katrin
2022
English
Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Wolfswinkler, Katrin (2022): Combining research methods for an experimental study of West Central Bavarian vowels in adults and children. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty for Languages and Literatures
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Abstract

The overall goal of this thesis was to systematically measure defining vowel characteristics of the West Central Bavarian (WCB) dialect for an acoustically based analysis of the Bavarian vowel system and simultaneously investigate to what extent these characteristics are being preserved across generations and if there is a sound change in progress observable in which young speakers show more characteristics of Standard German (SG) than old on some Bavarian vowel attributes. In order to address these aims we conducted acoustic recordings of WCB speaking adults and WCB speaking primary school children which were then compared to each other with an apparent-time analysis. For a more accurate view of changes in progress we combined this apparent-time comparison with longitudinal data from the WCB children, obtained at annually intervals expanding over three years. The acoustic data was enhanced by articulatory data gained from ultrasound recordings of a subset of the same WCB speaking children at two timepoints with one year interval. Analyses of the acoustic data revealed both adult/child and longitudinal changes in the direction of the standard in the children’s tendency towards a merger of two open vowels and a collapse of a long/short consonant contrast, neither of which exist in SG. There was some evidence that children in comparison with adults were beginning to develop both tensity and rounding contrasts which occur in SG but not WCB. There were no observed changes to the pattern of opening and closing diphthongs which differ markedly between the two varieties. Also, within the WCB front vowel that resulted historically from /l/-vocalization and for which articulatory data from a subset of the children was put into relation with the acoustic measures no changes were observed. The general conclusion is that WCB change is most likely to occur as a consequence of exaggerating phonetic variation that already happens to be in the direction of the standard and therefore internal factors motivated by general principles of vowel change might play a more decisive role in inducing a shift than external factors like dialect contact.