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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Retraction in Montana Salish lateral consonants McDowell, Ramona E.


Although a number of researches have addressed the issue of consonant triggered vowel retraction in Salishan languages, these previous have always been undertaken from the standpoint of acoustic and/or phonological evidence. As documented in this literature (Bessell 1994, 1998; Doak 1992; Egesdal 1993; Czaykowska-Higgins 1990; Kuipers 1974; Martina 1979; Reichard 1938; Shahin 2002; Van Eijk 1997; etc.), consonants functioning as retraction triggers fall into two classes: (i) post-velars (uvulars, pharyngeals and sometimes laryngeals), and (ii) a subset of coronal consonants, including retracted Iri, Is/, Izl Iz'l III, /VI, and HI. Despite the large number of segments in the category of retracted consonants, there has been significantly little investigation into the articulatory process of retraction on any coronal, but most notably, a lack of investigation into the lateral consonants. The current study is an articulatory investigation into the status of retraction on the four lateral consonants in Montana Salish, which are comprised of a phonetically diverse array of segments: two approximants IV and lil, and two obstruents, a fricative l\l and an ejective affricate Fkl. Through the use of ultrasound imaging of the tongue taken during real time speech, this study examines the physical properties of tongue retraction in each of the lateral segments. The articulatory information, taken in consideration with the acoustic signal, provides convergent evidence for the determination of retraction on these consonants. Ultrasound imaging also allows for investigation into the coarticulatory influences such retraction may have on adjacent vowels. Understanding these two components of tongue retraction (the gestures involved and their corresponding coarticulatory effects) aims to contribute both to deepening our understanding of retraction within Salish languages, and to supplementing previous cross-linguistic work on the little studied lateral consonants. Beyond a well-needed articulatory description, this study helps evaluate the physiology of retraction within the phonological and acoustic based literature which distinguishes retraction as "uvularization" and "pharyhgealization". The examined coarticulatory patterns provide insight into the interaction of local gestural resolution versus phonological retraction effects. Lastly, results from this study provide information useful in the phonological debate over the legitimacy of the term "lateral" as a class of sounds.

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