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Title:The phonetic correlates of pharyngealization and pharyngealization spread patterns in Cairene Arabic an acoustic and real-time magnetic resonance imaging study
Author(s):Hermes, Zainab
Director of Research:Shosted, Ryan K.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shosted, Ryan K.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Benmamoun, Elabbas; Hualde, José I.; Sutton, Brad
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Pharyngealization, Cairene Arabic, articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics, Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Abstract:The major articulatory differences between plain and pharyngealized speech sounds in Arabic are a secondary posterior constriction and a lowered tongue body implicated in the production of the latter type. This articulatory configuration, pharyngealization, affects neighboring segments according to spread patterns that differ across different dialects in both direction and domain (distance). The most prominent acoustic consequence of this articulatory configuration is a lowering of the second formant frequency in surrounding vowels. The extent of the modification in the formant frequency is determined by the length and quality of the vowel. This study uses real-time magnetic resonance imaging (rtMRI) to investigate the acoustic and articulatory correlates of pharyngealization and pharyngealization spread in Cairene Arabic. The articulatory and acoustic correlates of pharyngealization and pharyngealization spread relate to phonetics and phonology, respectively. This study is thus at the interface of phonetics and phonology, presenting phonetic evidence for a phonological phenomenon. Four male native speakers of Cairene Arabic participated in the study. They were trained to repeat a carrier phrase inside the MRI scanner: /ʔal:aha: X ʔalf mar:a/ (‘He told her X one thousand times’, where X is the target word). Target words are monosyllabic minimal pairs of Cairene Arabic in which the plain-pharyngealized contrast occurs at the edges of the word, and in which the vowels immediately adjacent to the plain-pharyngealized contrast are /a:, i:, u:/ and /a, i, u/. The role of both vowel length and vowel quality in the extent of pharyngealization spread was examined, as well as the influence of rightward versus leftward spread of pharyngealization. The acquired rtMRI data is reconstructed using the Partial Separability model to achieve high temporal resolution (approximately 100 fps) and high spatial resolution (128 × 128 voxels (volume elements), with each voxel measuring 2.2 mm × 2.2 mm × 8.0 mm (through-plane depth). Midsagittal MRI frames are extracted at the middle of the consonants and vowels of the target words. They show the lingual and pharyngeal configuration during the articulation of each speech segment. An edge detection method is applied to identify the contours of the vocal tract from the glottis to the lips. These contours are analyzed in Matlab to examine the articulatory configuration of the sounds of interest. Two articulatory measures, 2D pharyngeal areas and 2D oral areas, are introduced to quantify the magnitude of the pharyngeal constriction and the oral cavity, respectively. These provide articulatory measurements of pharyngealization spread across different vowel qualities, different vowel lengths, and different directions. Results suggest that the magnitude of pharyngealization spread differs with respect to these three factors. Parallel acoustic data is acquired from the same four speakers in a sound attenuating booth and analyzed in Praat to examine the acoustic properties (i.e. the formant frequencies) of the sounds of interest. Results from articulatory measurements are corroborated with results from acoustic measurements of formant frequency modifications.
Issue Date:2018-12-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Zainab Hermes
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-08
Date Deposited:2018-12

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