Maspong, Sireemas: Travel Grant - 2017-2018

College: 
College of Arts and Sciences
Department: 
Linguistics
Project Title: 
Effects of talkers’ age on recognition memory: a case study of vowel shortening in Thai
Project Abstract: 
Thai is a language in which short and long vowels are contrastive, as they can distinguish one word from another. However, the degree of contrast is not equal for every vowel pair. High vowels, /i - iː/ and /u - uː/, are fully contrastive with numbers of minimal pairs, whereas low vowels, /ɛ - ɛː/ and /ɔ - ɔː/, are marginally contrastive with few minimal pairs since their length distinction develops much later. The emergence of vowel length contrast in low vowels is a change-in-process, as there are variations between short and long counterparts, especially between speakers from different generations. For example, /fɛːm4/ ‘folder’ is found with short and long nucleus in young and old speakers, respectively. This project aims to study Thai low vowels in two aspects. The first aspect is to find the distribution of short and long low vowels in terms of duration and analyze the intra- and inter-speaker variation, using the acoustic analysis. The other is to study how age affects Thai speakers’ recognition memory of spoken words, using the perception test.