Linguistik online




Eine Kontrastive Phonetische Analyse Niederdeutscher Langvokale

Marja Gackstatter/Oliver Niebuhr (Kiel)



Taking up anecdotal evidence, our general research aim is to investigate and to quantify the phonetic characteristics of Low German in different Northern German regions on the basis of detailed acoustic and auditory analyses. In the initial pilot study presented here, we focus on phonologically long vowels. The analyses are based on a sample of long-vowel tokens, which were produced by 18 Northern German speakers in spontaneous translations of the ‘Wenker’ sentences. The speakers had comparable dialectal competences, but came from different regions of Northern Germany, i. e. Schleswig, Holstein, Dithmarschen, Ostfriedland, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, or Nordbrandenburg. The selected vowel tokens occurred in contexts that were phonetically controlled in terms of both consonantal coarticulation and prosodic structure. The acoustic analysis included measuring durations, formant frequencies (F1-F3) and intonation characteristics (pitch-accent F0 patterns). The auditory analysis was made by narrow phonetic transcriptions. The results of the two analyses agree in showing clear regional differences. They concern the distributions of the long vowels within the vowel space (i.e. the vowel qualities, their stabilities and phonetic distances to each other) as well as the pitch-accent intonation patterns that co-occur with the long vowels. Differences in vowel duration were not found. Nordbrandenburg and Schleswig are characterized by a wide spectrum of monophthongal long-vowel qualities. In contrast, the long vowels in Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Ostfriesland show less diverse quality differences in the vowel centre. However, overall the phonetic diversity is still there in terms of diphthongizations that start or end at very different qualities. The long vowels of Dithmarschen combine the two characteristics, i.e. diphthongal qualities with relatively large differences in the vowel centre. As regards the intonation patterns across the vowels, we found that Dithmarschen and Holstein are both characterized by rising-falling pitch-accent peaks, but with different alignments relative to the vowel boundaries. The pitch-accent intonations of our speakers from Ostfriesland also rose and fell across the vowel. However, unlike in all other regions they additionally showed a striking F0 shape with a long high plateau in between the rising and falling movements. Our results are discussed with regard to the current claims about the dialectal organization of Northern Germany.

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