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Acoustic Analysis of Hindko Stops.

Byline: Zafeer Hussain Kiani, Nadeem Bukhari, Jamil Ahmed and Nouman Hameed

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to give an acoustic description of Hindko stops. There is a difference of burst in the production of stops according to voicing. Voiced Onset Time (V07) of stops also differs according to their place of articulation, voicing and aspiration. This paper attempts to list these differences in Hindko stops. The results yield that acoustics properties of Hindko stops also differ according to the change in place of articulation, voicing and aspiration. VOT for stops in Hindko (spoken in Neelum valley) is greater for voiced stops than that of voiceless stops.

Keywords: Acoustic analysis, Hindko stops, voicing onset time (VOT)

Introduction

Hindko is spoken generally by the people of the plains and low hills of north central Pakistan. It shows a wide geographic range, much linguistic diversity and a line of stitching with Punjabi. Hindko is majorly spoken in Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa province of Pakistan. Majority of Hindko speakers are found in Hazara division of Khyber Pakhtoon Khawa. It is also spoken in various districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, i.e. Muzaffarabad, Neelam valley and Hattian Bala. Approximately, there are more than two million Hindko speakers in various parts of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

There is significant dialect differentiation among the varieties of Hindko (Calvin, Calinda and Clare 1992). It is the predominant language of the Neelam valley (Rehman and Baart, 2004). Hindko spoken in Neelam Valley is slightly different from those of its dialects spoken in different areas of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan.

Hindko stops have three different contrasts, i.e. place of articulation, voicing and aspiration and these contrasts yield sixteen different stops which are given in the table below:

Table 1. Stops of Hindko

###Bilabial###Dental###Alveolar###Velar

Voiceless unaspirated###p###t###t###k

Voiceless aspirated###ph###th###th###kh

Voiced unaspirated###b###d###d###g

Voiced aspirated###bh###dh###dh###gh

The following table shows the occurrence of Hindko stops at initial, medial and final positions:

Table 2. Word Level Distribution of Hindko Sports

It is interesting to note that unlike English, aspiration is not allophonic in Hindko rather it is a phonemic feature. The word formed by aspiration gives completely different meanings than the word having unaspirated stop. Rehman and Baart (2004) observed twelve stops in Hindko language spoken by people of Kundal Shahi.

They did not focus on the phonological aspects of the language so they overlooked the aspirated forms of voiced stops. This study also focuses on the aspirated versions of voiced stops and results show that these sounds are also found abundantly in Hindko language spoken by the people of Neelam valley.

Literature Review

Stops are the sounds which are produced with a complete blockage of air in oral tract followed by a sudden explosion. Stops differ along a variety of acoustic dimensions: closure duration, VOT, the spectral characteristics of their release burst, and formant transitions into and out of surrounding sonorants (Roger, 2003). VOT is the interval between the release of articulatory blockage and the onset of voicing (Lisker and Abramson, 1964).

The VOT of stops distinguishes voiced stop from voiceless (Kent and Read, 1992). According to Lisker and Abramson (1964, 1970), VOT is a strong cue to voicing contrasts between stops.

Much research has been conducted on the acoustic study of stops in world's languages. Wysocki (2004) conducted an acoustic study of Georgian stops located word initially and inter-vocalically. She found that closure duration did not distinguish the manner; there was a three way distinction in manner by VOT which did so. VOT of aspirated stops was found longest, for voiced stops it was shortest, and ejectives had an intermediate VOT.

Lisker (1957) conducted research on closure duration of English Stops and reported that overall intensity at onset of phonation following closure is greater for /p/ than /b/. But he observed that these differences do not consistently appear in the spectrograms studied and thus are of negligible cue value. He concluded that closure durational differences played vital role in the voiced-voiceless stop distinction. His study has recently been confirmed by Diehl, Lott and Holt (2004).

Methodology

Subjects

Ten native speakers of Hindko (five male and five female) participated in the study. They were born in Neelam valley speaking Hindko as their first language. They were in the age group of 20-30. They were given following sixteen words to utter with target stop at the initial position.

Table 3: List of Words

Procedure

Each subject uttered these sixteen words having target stop at word initial position and thus formed a total of 160 tokens. The subjects were recorded using PRAAT v.4.1 (Software for Acoustic Analysis of speech) and the tokens were analyzed acoustically for their acoustic cues.

Measurements

Burst and VOT of stops were measured from the stop release to the onset of the second formant in the following vowels using the criteria discussed by Roger (2003). Mean VOT values were calculated for the stops produced by each subject.

Results and Discussions

VOT for each stop by each speaker was measured. The results are summarized in Tables 4, 5, 6 and 7 below.

Table 4: Burst and mean VOT of bilabial stops in Hindko

Bilabial###No. of###Mean VOT###Standard###Burst

Tokens###(ms)###Deviation

p###10###35###2.40370###Weak

b###10###-60###1.76383###Strong

ph###10###56###1.24722###Weak

bh###10###-91###1.63299###Strong

Comparative analysis of the figures 1 and 2 give the evidence that burst for voiceless stop /p/ is scattered thus weak while in case of voiced /b/, it is dark and strong.

Spectrograms for the words in table 3 with initial stops are given in Appendix A.

Table 5: Burst and mean VOT of dental stops in Hindko

Dental No.of Mean###VOT###Standard###Burst

Tokens###(ms)###Deviation

t###10###36###1.49071###Weak

d###10###-52###1.56347###Strong

th###10###58###1.05409###Weak

dh###10###-96###2.16025###Strong

Table 6: Burst and mean VOl of alveolar stops in Hindko

Alveolar###No. of Mean###VOT###Standard###Burst

Tokens###(ms)###Deviation

t###10###20###.94281###Weak

d###10###-78###2.62467###Strong

th###10###49###1.49071###Weak

dh###10###-76###1.88562###Strong

Table 7: Burst and mean VOT of velar stops in Hindko

Velar No. of Mean###VOT###Standard###Burst

Tokens###(ms)###Deviation

k###10###29###1.76383###Weak

g###10###-97###1.33333###Strong

kh###10###82###1.88562###Weak

gh###10###-79###2.10819###Strong

Table 8: Mean VOT values (ms) by voicing

Unaspirated###Un-aspirated###Aspirated###Aspirated

voiceless (YL)###voiced (V)###voiceless(AVL)###voiced (AV)

Bilabial###35###-60###56###-91

Dental###36###-52###58###-96

Alveolar###20###-78###49###-76

Velar###29###-97###82###-79

Results in figure 3 follow the hierarchy: Aspirated voiced Greater than Unaspirated voiced Greater than Aspirated voiceless Greater than Unaspirated voiceless. The results show that VOT for aspirated voiced stops is greatest. It is greater in unaspirated voiced stops that the aspirated voiceless stops.

Results in figure 4 show that VOT has the following hierarchy: Velar Greater than Bilabial Dental Greater than Alveolar. The results show that velar stops have greatest VOT while alveolar stops have the least VOT. The VOT for bilabial stops is equal to that of dental stops.

Closure Duration

Table 9: Mean Closure duration of Hindko Stops Voicing

Voiceless###Voiced###Aspirated###Aspirated

(VL)###(V)###Voiceless###Voiced (AV)

(AVL)

Bilabial###122###94###98###81

Dental###109###80###105###72

Alveolar###102###69###109###57

Velar###107###72###97###65

Figure 5 shows that unaspirated voiceless stops have longer closure duration as compared to aspirated voiceless stops. Similarly it is greater for unaspirated voiced stops than for aspirated voiced stops.

Mean Closure Duration by Place of Articulation

Figure 6 yields the results that closure duration in the production of alveolar and velar stops is almost equal but shorter than that of dental stop. Whereas bilabial stops have longer closure duration than the closure duration of dental stops.

Conclusion

The results provide the evidence to conclude that VOT for stops in Hindko (spoken in Neelum valley) is greater for voiced stops than that of voiceless stops. VOT also varies with the variation in place of articulation. It is longest for velar stops and shortest for alveolar with bilabial and dental in between. The results for closure duration also vary according to the place of articulation and voicing. It is longer for voiceless stops as compared to the closure duration of voiced stops regardless of the aspiration. Closure duration for bilabial stops is longest and decreases with the backness of stops but is almost equal for alveolar and velar stops.

References

Calvin R., Calinda E., and Clare F. (1992). Sociolinguistic survey of Northern Pakistan Volume 3, Hindko and Gujari, National Institute of Pakistani Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

Diehl R., Lott A., and Holt, L. (2004). Speech perception. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, pp.149-179.

Kent, R., and Read, C. (1992). The acoustic analysis of speech. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing.

Lisker, L. (1957). Closure duration and the intervocalic voiced-voiceless distinction in English. Language, 33, pp.42-49.

Lisker, L., and Abramson, A. 5. (1964). A cross language study of voicing in initial stops: acoustical measurements. Worch 20, pp.384-422.

Mack, M., and Blumstein, S. E. (1983). Further evidence of acoustic invariance in speech production: The stop-glide contrast. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 73, pp.1739-1750.

Rehman A., and Baart, G. (2004). The language of the Qureshis of Kundal Shahi in Azad Kashmir, Prepublication draft.

Roger, B. (2003). An acoustic analysis of Kiowa stops, UCLA.

Wysocki, T. (2004). Acoustic analysis of Georgian stop consonants and stop clusters (Ph.D. thesis). University of Chicago.
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Publication:Kashmir Journal of Language Research
Date:Dec 31, 2012
Words:1623
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