M.A. Theses in Linguistics at the University of North Dakota (Abstracts)
Yoder, Brendon E. 2011
Phonological and phonetic aspects of Enganno vowels
The Enggano language has received little attention in Austronesian linguistics. It is an isolate located geographically in a large area of related languages. A dedicated description of Enggano phonology has never been undertaken before. This thesis describes aspects of Enggano phonology and phonetics, primarily at the word level. It focuses mainly on vowels and vocoid sequences.
As a starting point for analysis of Enggano phonemes, a list of phonemes was compiled from previous research where phonemes are mentioned. For each reported phoneme, words were elicited with the phoneme in initial, prestress and final (stressed) position. An example word containing each vowel and consonant was recorded in frames for acoustic analysis. Since sequences of two or more adjacent vocoids are common, words containing examples of all vocoid sequences were recorded in frames as well.
The Enggano phoneme inventory consists of twelve consonants and fourteen vowels in a seven-vowel oral system and an analogous seven-vowel nasal system. There are seven possible syllable types. Word stress is consistently final in both monomorphemic and polymorphemic words. Acoustic measurements show that word stress is indicated by intensity in closed syllables, and possibly by length and pitch in both open and closed syllables.
There are a few allophonic processes in Enggano. An intrusive vowel (Hall 2006) is inserted in consonant sequences beginning with /ʔ/. A tentative analysis of the fricative /x/ is that it is realized as [x], [ç], or [s] depending on the context. The glottal stop is optionally palatalized after a high front vowel, and vowels are nasalized in words with a nasal consonant.
Vocoid sequences syllabify based on the preceding environment and the relative height of the two vocoids. Two-vocoid sequences after medial non-glottals are disyllabic except sequences beginning with a lower vocoid and ending with a higher vocoid (low-high and mid-high). These are realized as diphthongs. Vocoid sequences after medial glottal consonants [ʔ] and [h] are realized differently. Glottal consonants syllabify in the coda of the previous syllable. Syllable-initial vocoids in sequences that are not low-high are realized in the onset of the syllable, as in /kõʔĩã/ [kõʔ.jã] ‘tree sp.’. This process does not affect low-high sequences, or sequences where the glottal consonant is word-initial. Acoustic measurements show that the three syllabification patterns of vocoid sequences (vowel-vowel, glide-vowel, vowel-glide) can be distinguished by both intensity and overall duration of the sequences.
Nasal vowels have a much greater range in the vowel space than oral vowels, and consequently there is much more overlap between adjacent vowels. This range can be attributed to variation between speakers in articulation of nasal vowels. Vocoids in sequences are very similar in place of articulation to their interconsonantal counterparts. Vocoids in disyllabic sequences are generally in more extreme areas of the vowel space, while vocoids in diphthongs are generally located in more central areas of the vowel space than plain vowels.
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