Tag Archives: Praat

Talk: When “foreign” languages aren’t foreign – Heritage speakers in the United States

The Latin American and Latino Studies Program and the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies present:

When “foreign” languages aren’t foreign: Heritage speakers in the United States

Presented by: 
Kim Potowski
Associate professor of Hispanic Linguistics at UIC
October 12, 2011,  12:00 p.m.
Rafael Cintrón-Ortiz Latino Cultural Center
Lecture Center B2, University of Illinois at Chicago, East Campus
“You’re in America Speak English.”
“Multilingualism threatens our national unity.”
“Today’s immigrants are not learning English as quickly as those of the past.”
These myths regarding language are fairly prevalent in the U.S. at the beginning of the 21st century.  Approximately 20% of the U.S. population speaks a language other than English at home, yet several mainstream currents portray this linguistic diversity as a problem – with repressive and sometimes illegal  results. But there have been growing countercurrents of awareness that heritage languages are in fact both a right for the communities that speak them and a resource for the nation generally, along with the understanding that there are good ways (and not so good ways) of promoting English language learning.   Several cities have enacted initiatives to protect people’s right to maintain their heritage language without being accused of rejecting mainstream U.S. society, and several K-8 educational models teach other languages to our nation’s English monolingual children. This talk explores these issues making frequent reference to Spanish in the U.S. and to Chicago more specifically.
Kim Potowski is Associate Professor of Hispanic linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she directs the Spanish for Heritage Speakers Program. Her research focuses on Spanish in the United States, and her book Language Diversity in the U.S. (Cambridge University Press 2010) profiles the 12 most commonly spoken heritage languages in the nation.  She is currently completing a book about “MexiRicans” in Chicago.
Bring your brown bag lunch and refreshments will be provided  –   this event is free and open to the general public.   For more information call LALS office at 312. 996.2445.

UIC TiL: Frank Savelsberg

This Friday October the 7th, Frank Savelsberg will be presenting a talk at UIC TiL entitled ‘La periferia izquierda “alta” y “baja” y la estructura informativa en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales’.

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.

We hope to see everyone there!

La periferia izquierda “alta” y “baja” y la estructura informativa en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales

Frank Savelsberg, Freie Universität Berlin

La intervención se centrará en variantes del orden de palabras en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales que divergen de modo significativo de los posibles tipos de organización de constituyentes en las lenguas actuales en cuestión. En el Español moderno, por ejemplo, predomina el orden de sujeto – verbo – complemento y es la organización no marcada en oraciones con verbos transitivos:

(1)            María come la manzana.

Si uno desplaza el complemento directo a la periferia izquierda de la oración en el Español moderno la repetición a través de un pronombre clítico es indispensable:

(2)            La manzana la come María.

Contrario a ésto, en el Español medieval pueden encontrarse estructuras como en (3a-b):

(3)            a.            E esto fiz yo porque tomases exiemplo. (Juan Manuel, Conde                                  Lucanor)

b.            […] que aestos dos procuradores fuese dado, por mi mandado, poderio por las çibdades e villas […] (Anonym, 1432)

En el primer caso se trata de un complemento directo dislocado al margen izquierdo de la oración, en el segundo caso de un complemento indirecto. En ambos casos, el Español moderno exige la repetición de los complementos dislocados a través de un clítico.

La intervención también se dedicará a estructuras como las siguientes:

(4)            a.            E pues que la Emperadriz ouo esto fecho murio. (Gran Conquista de Ultramar)

b.            […] e hauemos por experiencia visto […] (Anónimo, 1414)

En ambas frases se encuentran formas perifrásticas para expresar el pasado y entre el verbo auxiliar y el participio se hallan constituyentes interpoladas. Esta construcción no es posible en el Español moderno, la vecindad inmediata del verbo auxiliar y del participio es obligatoria.

Las observaciones y los análisis de la intervención quieren dar unas primeras respuestas a las preguntas siguientes: ¿Qué función cumplen los complementos dislocados en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales respecto a la estructura informativa? ¿Los elementos interpolados entre auxiliar y participio están marcadas en cuanto a la estructura informativa? ¿Qué función cumplen en el discurso?

UIC TiL: Fall 2011 Lineup

Mark your calendars!

UIC Talks In Linguistics (TiL) is pleased to announce this semester’s lineup:

Frank Savelsberg, Freie Universität Berlin

La periferia izquierda “alta” y “baja” y la estructura informativa
en las variedades iberorrománicas medievales (Spanish)

David Heap, The University of Western Ohio

Non-standard Spanish clitic sequences:
data from the Atlas Lingüístico de la Península Ibérica

Ming Xiang, University of Chicago


MaryAnn Parada and Shane Ebert, UIC


Please join us at UIC TiL Fridays at 3 p.m. in University Hall 1750, at the University of Chicago Eastern Campus.

Stay tuned for more information!

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.

Praat Workshop by Erin O’Rourke

The University of Pittsburgh’s Erin O’Rourke will be giving a workshop on Praat on December 2nd at 10am in the Bilingualism Research Lab (1700 University Hall, 601 S. Morgan St., Chicago).  If you are unfamiliar with Praat, on its website http://www.fon.hum.uva.nl/praat/ Sidney Wood describes it in the following manner:

  • Praat is a program for speech analysis and synthesis written by Paul Boersma och David Weenink at the Department of Phonetics of the University of Amsterdam (links on the Contents page). The program is constantly being improved and a new build is published almost every week. Version 4.2 was published in March 2004 and the last build was 4.2.34. Version 4.3 was introduced in February 2005 and the current builds (22 February 2005) are 4.3.00 for Solaris, 4.3.01 for Linux and 4.3.02 for Windows and Macintosh.
  • All are welcome to participate in the workshop and are encouraged to download Pratt on their laptop beforehand.