Voice Onset Time in Plains Cree

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This thesis represents the first in-depth acoustic study of voice onset time (VOT) in Plains Cree. The study is designed to gain a better understanding of where Plains Cree fits in the typology of single series stops, how these VOTs support empirical descriptions that Plains Cree stop consonants are voiceless and unaspirated (Wolfart, 1996), and examine the factors that influence Plains Cree VOT at each place of articulation. The data was collected from publicly available recordings, measuring VOT in milliseconds from the rising edge of the release burst until the onset of voicing in the waveform. Statistical analysis included ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis tests followed by applicable post-hoc tests. The factors include word position, syllable stress, and vowel environments. VOT of Plains Cree stops behave as predicted for single series stops but with patterns to explore for the typology. Results indicate that in Plains Cree, /p/ (mean=11.6ms, sd=4.62ms) and /t/ (mean=15ms, sd=4.9ms), /k/ (mean=25.6ms, sd=9.59ms) are steadfast short-lag stops in (most) environments. VOT was found to be statistically significantly longer when in word-initial position than in other positions and in front of high vowels in comparison to low vowels. Establishing VOT in Plains Cree not only adds to the knowledge of Plains Cree acoustics, it enables future exploration of language attitudes and acquisition, and also sets up other acoustic studies of Wolfart’s descriptions. Contextualizing Plains Cree among other single series languages and VOT typology also brings up the question of what VOT is utilized for in single series languages.
Voice Onset Time, Phonetics, Acoustics, Indigenous languages, Plains Cree, Single series, Stop consonants, VOT typology, Phonology
Hodgson, M. R. (2021). Voice Onset Time in Plains Cree (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.