Akoestiese analise van die vokale van 'n groep bejaarde Afrikaanse vroue
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This article reports on research on the characteristics of the Afrikaans vowels as produced by 20 elderly Afrikaans-speaking women with an average age of 86. In order to do this, it was necessary first to collect recordings of all the phonemic Afrikaans vowels, to analyse them and then to describe them in a comprehensive and informative way. With this in mind, I focused on the acoustic properties of these vowels, although I also integrated their relevant articulatory properties. I based the analysis and description as well as the evaluation of the results mainly on a descriptive model that had been developed for this purpose (Wissing 2012). Of course, numerous other models and sub-models exist, but this one covers all the acoustic parameters dictated by the project of which this article forms a part, namely Pronunciation varieties of Afrikaans. A secondary, superordinate goal of this project was to compare different varieties with one another. The present research provides an acoustic description of the Afrikaans that was probably spoken approximately 80 years ago. Comparing this variety with other, modern ones in terms of how these varieties are used by present-day speakers of Afrikaans, for example, may be informative. The method which I used to reach the descriptive goal is mostly in line with those followed in similar research endeavours, such as that of Pols et al. (1973) and Adank et al. (2004). In the present study the speech of 20 elderly female speakers was recorded and then analysed acoustically. The readers had not been selected beforehand - they took part voluntarily. The only condition was that they had to be Afrikaans speakers and should experience no inhibitive problems with regard to hearing or sight. Naturally they also had to be able to read out aloud and fluently. The stimulus material used was in the form of a reading list comprising 12 isolated, monosyllabic words. Each word contained a phoneme vowel of Afrikaans, such as the two members of the minimal pair nies and nuus. This pair enables one to determine the extent to which unrounding of the latter is present in the speech of this group of speakers, if any. The vowels in each speaker's recordings were determined, segmented and annotated in the Praat phonetic analysis programme, after which the relevant acoustic information was extracted for further statistical analysis. All data gained by means of analysis was tabulated, on which basis an acoustic vowel chart was constructed. In this chart the vowels were placed according to their F1 and F2 formant values. Line graphs of all the parameters' average values for each vowel were also presented. The parameters involved are the usual first two vowel frequency formants, F1 and F2, and, to a lesser extent also F3, as well as the length of vowels (duration), intensity (total intensity; intensity in BF1 and BF2), fundamental frequency (F0), harmonicity-to-noise ratio (HNR) and the bandwidth of F1 (BdW F1)
- Faculty of Humanities 
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