Arandic Phonology & Phonetics Workshop 6 July
CoEDL affiliate Myf Turpin co-organised the Arandic Phonetics & Phonology Workshop at Campfire in the Heart, Alice Springs, with support from the CoEDL Shape program.
The workshop aimed to adress the question of how and why the sound systems of languages differ. The focus was on the Australian languages of the the Arandic subgroup. These languages are renowned for their unusual sound systems, which have not yet been fully described. The workshop was held in Alice Springs, perhaps the largest urban centre in Australia where the Indigenous language (Arrernte) is still being passed on as a first language.
Three talks demonstrated phonological similarities across the Arandic languages in their Child-directed speech, singing traditions and sign languages (Demuth, Turpin, Green). Both Child-directed speech and singing traditions show that the trochaic foot is the salient prosodic unit. Phonetic presentations found similarities in the main vowels of Arrernte and Kaytetye (Tabain, San). Prosodic and durational evidence suggesting singleton consonants are associated with the following and not the preceeding vowel was presented (Tabain). In contrast, Arrernte native speakers sometimes omit word final vowels in their writing (Breen). A number of papers focused on coronals, and in particular prepalatals. Butcher presented data on Kaytetye which shows that prepalatals in Kaytetye and Arrernte are phonetically quite different, raising questions about their differing diachrony which were taken up by Harvey and Koch. Stokes and Proctor presented innovative tools and methodologies to help tackle the analysis of Arandic sounds.