Glottalized Resonants in Kwak’wala (Wakashan, Pacific Northwest)

Date: May 26, 2023

Time: 11:00

Location: SH 4430C/ PC Zoom Room

Speakers: Jorge Rosés Labrada (University of Alberta)

In this talk, I will report on joint ongoing work with Patricia Shaw (UBC) on the acoustic properties of glottalized resonants (GRs) in Kwak̓wala, a Northern Wakashan language spoken in Vancouver Island and adjacent areas of the BC mainland. Like many other languages of the Pacific Northwest, Kwak̓wala has several GRs—namely, /m̓ n̓ l̕ y̓ w̓/—which contrast with plain resonants. Our documentary phonetic work on these sounds with four speakers of the language shows that 1) glottalization is variably realized and that 2) the timing of glottalization is tied to their position (onset vs. coda) within the syllable. This year we are trying to systematically investigate the realization of these consonants in word-initial position as this is a prime locus of perceptual difficulty (for learners) and of productive loss (for speakers). Our two main research questions for this subproject are: (1) What, if any, differences are there in the acoustic properties of utterance-initial word-initial onset GRs compared with word-internal onset GRs? (2) What, if any, differences are there in the acoustic properties of this same lexical set of words with initial GRs when the word is no longer utterance-initial?