UIC TiL: Erik Willis

This Friday, January 28th, Dr. Erik Willis of Indiana University will be presenting a talk entitled, “Findings from a Spanish trill seeker” (abstract below), an interesting discussion of the Spanish “r/rr.”

Join us at 3 PM in 1750 University Hall (601 S. Morgan St. Chicago, IL 60607) for the talk and as usual light refreshments will be provided.

In addition, directly following the talk, Dr. Willis will hold a Praat workshop in Grant Hall 304. All are welcome to join us for this discussion of linguistic research and classroom implementation.

Findings from a Spanish trill seeker

This paper will provide an overview of a laboratory approach to understanding the Spanish phonological trill based on acoustic work on different three dialects, Dominican, Veracruz Mexican and Jerezano Peninsular Spanish. Spanish rhotics, and in particular, the Spanish phonological trill, have been a topic of research in linguistics due to the potential for neutralization, considerable variation and complexity of production. Trill production has also been a topic of interest to researchers working on theoretical issues such as gemination, syllabic affiliation, gestural score, phonetic/articulatory factors, etc. Trill variation is also one of the principal characteristics for dialectal variation of phonetics. However, it is only recently that detailed acoustic accounts have been forwarded.

We will begin by reviewing the “normative” descriptions of the Spanish trill and then proceed to illustrate the principal acoustic characteristics used to identify or delimit a phonological trill. We will then review the findings of three dialectal examinations including the acoustics of the primary allophonic variants. We will next review the specific phonological contexts in which the variants are found across the dialects and the specific acoustic characterization for each dialect. For two of the three dialects, the phonological trill is also contrasted with the phonological tap to better understand contrast and how the contrast is maintained despite the similarities in the segments. The talk will conclude with data and findings of a current study of phonological trill in newscaster speech in the Dominican Republic.

Praat Workshop

Praat is a powerful tool for acoustic analysis. Our review will focus on its uses for linguistic research. In this hands-on workshop we will first review some basic functions of Praat including opening files, editing files, extracting small portions of sound, and saving sound files in a wav format as well as a binary format. The remainder of our time will be spent on the bulleted topics below.

▪ Creating textgrid. Textgrids are annotations attached to a sound file that can be used to automate the extraction of data and insertion of text including phonetic symbols.

▪ Extracting text from textgrids. A transcription of a sound file can be effective using Praat for the transcription and then extracting the text into a single file.

▪ Logging. Logging is a quick automated analysis of specified features with a single button. These buttons can be programmed for specific functions similar to “hot keys” in word.

▪ Tonal modification. The intonation contour of a sound file can easily be modified in order to examine a wide variety of topics. With a simple modification a question can be converted into a statement.

I will conclude with a demonstration of several ways in which I have used Praat in the classroom for teaching. We will try to leave a few minutes at the end for individual questions.

2 thoughts on “UIC TiL: Erik Willis

  1. Ken Konopka

    I couldn’t make it. Were there any materials (ppt, files) posted online from the workshop?

    Reply
    1. SDG Post author

      You can check out the UIC TiL website for posted materials. UIC TiL website We post materials if the speaker has given us permission. Unfortunately, we don’t have any posted materials for this particular talk.

      Reply

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