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What /r/ sounds like in Kansai Japanese: a phonetic investigation of liquid variation in unscripted discourse

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dc.contributor.author Magnuson, Thomas Judd
dc.date.accessioned 2009-04-27T17:59:41Z
dc.date.available 2009-04-27T17:59:41Z
dc.date.copyright 2008 en
dc.date.issued 2009-04-27T17:59:41Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/1367
dc.description.abstract Unlike Canadian English which has two liquid consonant phonemes, /ɹ, l/ (as in right and light), Japanese is said to have a single liquid phoneme whose realization varies widely both among speakers and within the speech of individuals. Although variants of the /r/ sound in Japanese have been described as flaps, laterals, and weak plosives, research that has sought to quantitatively describe this phonetic variation has not yet been carried out. The aim of this thesis is to provide such quantification based on 1,535 instances of /r/ spoken by four individuals whose near-natural, unscripted conversations had been recorded as part of a larger corpus of unscripted Japanese maintained by Dr. Nick Campbell of Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), Kyoto, Japan. Tokens of /r/ were extracted from 30-minute conversations between one pair of male speakers and one pair of female speakers. Each token was narrowly transcribed into the International Phonetic Alphabet, then categorized based on the author’s perception of: 1) the strength/narrowness of central oral articulatory stricture, and 2) the presence or absence of an auditory-perceptual lateral and/or rhotic sound quality. Transcription and category frequencies for each speaker averaged across all environments were then compared with frequencies in specific phonological environments to ascertain whether a particular environment was amenable to a ‘drift’ towards any particular category of variant, and whether patterns of ‘drift’ applied to all speakers or varied on an individual basis. Transcriptions of the 1,535 tokens of /r/ ranged widely among lateral and non-lateral flaps, raised (i.e. increased articulatory contact) non-lateral flaps akin to light voiced plosives (e.g. Hattori 1951, Kawakami 1977), as well as lateral approximants and rhotic approximants. While two of the four speakers, both males, patterned similarly by dividing their productions of /r/ chiefly among short lateral approximants and rhotic approximants, each speaker did vary considerably in their choice of variants in any given environment. Drift is considered in terms of physiological parameters which may be optionally exploited to maintain phonological salience. en
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en
dc.subject Japanese en
dc.subject phonetics en
dc.subject flap en
dc.subject tap en
dc.subject Kansai Japanese en
dc.subject natural speech en
dc.subject liquids en
dc.subject rhotics en
dc.subject /r/ en
dc.subject phonetic variation en
dc.subject.lcsh UVic Subject Index::Humanities and Social Sciences::Language::Linguistics en
dc.subject.lcsh UVic Subject Index::Humanities and Social Sciences::Language::Languages, Modern en
dc.title What /r/ sounds like in Kansai Japanese: a phonetic investigation of liquid variation in unscripted discourse en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.contributor.supervisor Lin, Hua
dc.degree.department Dept. of Linguistics en
dc.degree.level Master of Arts M.A. en


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