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Academic Paper

Title: Variation in Standard Dutch vowels: The impact of formant measurement methods on identifying the speaker's regional origin
Author: Sander Van der Harst
Institution: Centre for Language Studies, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Author: Hans Van de Velde
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Author: Roeland van Hout
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Dutch
Abstract: It is common practice in sociophonetics to measure vowel formants at one (monophthongs) or two (diphthongs) time points. This paper compares this traditional target approach with two dynamic approaches for investigating regional patterns of variation: the multiple time point approach, which measures formants at successive time points, and the regression approach, which estimates formant dynamics over time by fitting polynomial regression equations to formant contours. The speech material consisted of monosyllabic words containing all full vowels of Dutch, except for /y/. These words were read out by 160 speakers of Standard Dutch, who were distributed over four regions in the Netherlands and four regions in Flanders, Belgium. The results show that dynamic approaches outperform the target approach in uncovering regional vowel differences, which suggests that sociophonetic vowel studies that apply the target approach run the risk of overlooking important sociolinguistic patterns.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 26, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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