The process of identifying the vowel target(s)
1. For your own data (/hVd/, /hVt/, /hV/ contexts), segment the vowel interval and identify the target(s) for the monophthongs and diphthongs using Praat. Instructions for Praat can be obtained from the AusTalk corpus.
The beginning of the vowel is determined by finding the point where voicing begins following the /h/. Some speakers have a great deal of overlap between the /h/ and the following vowel. If this is the case you must be consistent with the criterion you use to identify the boundary. You can choose to use the onset of periodicity or the beginning of F2. Use both the waveform and the spectrogram to establish the beginning of the vowel. A marked increase in amplitude usually accompanies the vowel onset.
The end of the vowel in /hVd/ and /hVt/ contexts is usually found by establishing the point where F2 and F3 end. Don't use F1 to establish the end of the vowel. Look at the waveform as well as this can provide important clues. An amplitude drop will usually accompany stop closure. It can be difficult to identify the end of a vowel in open syllables. Use the waveform and the end of F2.
2. Identify the target position(s) for each vowel. This is typically the position where the formants are changing the least and are therefore somewhat parallel to the base line. The following criteria should be used to establish targets for both the monophthongs and the diphthongal Monophthongs have a single target and diphthongs have two targets.
- high front vowels – F2 peak
- low vowels – F1 peak
- high back vowels – F2 trough
3. Determine the frequency values of F1 and F2 at the target position(s). Record these values. An excel spreadsheet has been provided to help you organise your data. Use whole numbers only.
4. Determine the duration of the vowels in milliseconds. Make sure you click on the bar below the vowel so that the vowel duration measurement is indicated in the bar above the waveform. It is important that your screenshot/image of each spectrogram shows this value.
5. Plot the monophthong F1/F2 data using established graphical procedures to illustrate the vowel space (see Harrington et 1997; Cox, 1999; 2006) for /hVd/,
/hVt/ and /hV/ contexts separately. You MUST use the standard procedure for plotting that is used in these publications. Plots can be generated in Excel using the Scatter Plot function. You will have to reverse the axes to create a plot with the correct orientation. Plot /e:/ on the monophthong plot.
6. On a separate graph, plot the schematic trajectories of the front rising diphthongs /æ? ?e o?/ superimposed onto a copy of the relevant monophthong vowel space generated above. Schematic trajectories are straight line estimates of diphthong movement through the vowel space from target 1 to target 2 (see Cox, 1999). Use arrows to indicate the direction of the movement.
7. On another separate graph, plot the schematic trajectories of the back rising diphthongs /æ? ??/ superimposed onto a copy of the relevant monophthong vowel space generated above for each context. You can plot /??/ on this graph too.
8. Plot the durations for each vowel in the /hVd/, /hVt/ and /hV/ contexts.
9. Compare the /hVd/, /hVt/ and /hV/ formant spaces, diphthong trajectories and durations.
- To examine the current vowel space production in Western Sidney by the use of acoustics analysis.
- To analys changes in vowel production if any, in comparison to the last four decades.
The process of identifying the vowel target(s)
Whenever the current vowel production in Western Sidney is changed, the produced sound will acquire an altered vowel space.
Linguistic alteration is paramount in all languages, be it foreign of native language. A lot of improvement in phonetic characteristics can easily be seen in almost all languages as time goes by. Bloomfield (1933), believed that linguistic change can be as a result of language speakers preferring a certain phonetic variant to the other, he then took it as a gradual methodology that does not occur immediately. This is to mean it take some time for one to see a change.
In the past decades, a lot of work has been done to investigate vowel production and vowel alterations among English speakers. Cox (1999), in conjunction with Bernard (1967), made a comparison study where by seventy English speakers in Western Sidney were sampled, out of which ladies aged 24 years were matched and a comparison was made, from the 1965 records, out of thirty young ladies, there was a revelation on the test of monophthongs which showed that, shot fong like /e/ were significantly high in relation to the 1965 data. On the other hand Labor (1994) in his investigation realised that there have been a drastic change in vowel production with some results which are not in line with others. The results showed that tenses that have long vowels seems to rise and are easily fronted, while those tenses that have shorter vowels are relatively lower.
So as to evaluate whether currently we still have a further vowel space shift, we engaged in a
research on participant, N.D, with a twenty four years old female student. To acquire access to the acoustic information on the vowel production, we decided to use standard spectrographic techniques. Out of the twelve monophthongs we used, seven of them were short vowels which are, / i:, ?, e, æ, ??, ?, ?/, and five proved to be long vowels, /o?, ?, ??, ?? e:/. Still we had six diphthongs which included /??, æ?, ?e, o?, æ?, ??/. More so we randomly selected fourty six words all of which had either a /hvd/, /hvt/ or /hv/ context. We summarized the results that has a revelation on vowels information in graphs of which has outlined the vowel space of the participants. We did all these so as to enable the reader visualize the results in a very simple and easy way. We also felt that it was
the most appropriate way to compare and contrast with other vowel spaces.
Changing vowel production in different situations
The time taken to pronounce each vowel was recorded in milliseconds in different context as it was used in different sentences. A bar graph of duration in milliseconds against Vowels was plotted to indicate vowel produced. In /hv/ situation without a full stop are longer as compared to vowels that are accompanied by a voiceless stop /t/ that seemed to be shot in length. From the graph you can also realize that /0I/ phonetic can not be discovered easily in the /hvd/ the same way it is placed equally as it is in /i:/. Sound /æ/ after the test in some context with a final stop proved to have lowerd sound
From the above graphs, it is clear that monophthongs vowels that were produced in the /hv/ context and the /3:/ were the most centralized. On the other hand, the fronted vowel /I:/ were high in the /hvd/ and /hvt/ situation. More so the /I/ sound were the most fronted in all cases.
It is very clear that different vowel spaces are produced in different styles which depends on the context with which a vowel spaces are produced. You will realize that, if there is no final stop, the vowel produced are longer with relatively greater vowel spaces. For instance, front vowels /0:/ and /0/ seemed to be the most fronted and raised in situation with a full stop. On the other hand, all diphthongs rose and were more fronted a part from /æ/ sound which despite of rising but it was more backed. The /??/ sound in /hv/ situation was fronted but it did not rise. In comparison to the last four decades, you realize that, front vowels /i:/ and /I/ were neither high nor rising. Our assumption was that may be the English speakers in Western Sidney were articulating the vowels in a much broader sense in the mouth.
- Only one person aged twenty four yeas was selected for the study. If a good number of people were interviewed the results would be more meaningful.
- The study did not consider gender and age, may be the result would have been different in male and aged English speakers.
- The study did not look at the difference in vowels space among clans, since the girl selected came from one clan of which may not be same in the neighborhood.
- Some people are stammers, when used as a case study, they may give wrong information, especially when it comes to pronunciation.
From our study, we can comfortably conclude that, we still expecte a lot of changes in linguistics across all languages. For the last four decades alone, in Western Sidney English speakers, a lot of phonetic variance have been observed. This is to mean that current vowels production has infact really changed of which as a result has altered the vowel space among the present Western Sidney’s English speakers.
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