[Lingtyp] query: vocal fry, creaky voice and phrase-final phonology

Mark Donohue mark at donohue.cc
Fri Oct 17 12:47:10 UTC 2014

In Tukang Besi, an Austronesian language of central Indonesia, there's a
speech genre used for telling scary stories to children that involves
creaking pretty much all the way through; this necessitates frequent
pauses, as you run out of breath.

This interacts with the segmental system:

glottal stops are phonemic in Tukang Besi;
in this CV languages they cannot be realised in an onset, but are
resyllabified as codas;
but codas are dispreferred, consequently they are frequently realised as
creakiness on the preceding vowel.

Now, obviously, in scary-story genre you then lose the contrast between
V<glottal stop>V, and VV, since everything is creaky.

Related to this, children have a hard time acquiring glottal stops, and are
reported to use them less consistently than adults, adding non-etymological
glottal stops in, reducing the contrast between (for instance) ba<glottal>e
and bad ('fruit' and 'rice').


(for those wondering: yes, there are phonemic word-initial glottal stops)

On 16 October 2014 12:34, David Gil <gil at eva.mpg.de> wrote:

>  Dear all,
>  The term “vocal fry” has recently been introduced to refer to the
> occurrence of creaky voice register across potentially lengthy stretches of
> speech as a subphonemic characteristic of a particular speech style — a
> phenomenon that has become associated, over the course of the last decade
> or two, with some styles of female speech in English.  This query
> consists of a number of interrelated questions about vocal fry from a
> cross-linguistic, structural and historical perspective.
> (1) Can anybody provide pointers (either references or personal accounts)
> relating to the use of vocal fry in languages other than English?  I
> would be particularly interested in whether its occurrence in other
> languages would seem to be due to influence from English or independent
> developments.
> (2) My own observations suggest that in English, for some speech styles,
> vocal fry seems to occur more saliently towards the ends of intonational
> phrases.  (This may perhaps be related to the connection between creaky
> voice and low pitch, known to mark the ends of phrases.)  Can anybody
> confirm (or refute) the tendency for vocal fry to occur towards the ends of
> phrases (again, with either references or personal impressions)?
> (3) Does anybody know of any cases where the suprasegmental nature of
> vocal fry or creaky voice has developed over time into a segmental feature,
> e.g. glottalization of a following coda?  (For creaky voice, at least,
> the opposite path would seem to be well attested, whereby a segmental
> distinction develops into a suprasegmental distinction involving creaky
> voice, e.g. in the development of tonogenesis in several Mainland Southeast
> Asian languages.)
> (The background for these questions is as follows. I am seeking support
> for a possible historical analysis of phrase-final phonological markers in
> Malayic languages, in which the ends of intonational or syntactic phrases
> are marked with features such as glottalization, preoralization of nasals,
> and others — the idea being that these may represent the outcome of a
> process of phonologicization of a phenomenon similar to vocal fry.)
> Thanks,
> David
> --
> David Gil
> Department of Linguistics
> Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
> Deutscher Platz 6, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
> Telephone: 49-341-3550321 Fax: 49-341-3550333
> Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
> Webpage:  http://www.eva.mpg.de/~gil/
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20141017/bd92ae53/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list