The primary focus of this study is on dynamic quantity-related prosodic processes (reduction and lengthening) in the Finnic languages of Ingria, which are situated in the vicinity of St. Petersburg in Russia: Ingrian, Votic, Ingrian Finnish, mixed Siberian Ingrian/Finnish. All of them are severely endangered or moribund: the number of currently living speakers ranges from zero to a couple of hundred. I have been conducting field research on the phonetics, phonology, and morpho(no)logy of these varieties since 2006. Their phonology is extremely complex, especially from the point of view of phonological quantity and contains several cross-linguistic phonological rarities. The complexity of phonology and a great degree of intra- and interdialectal variability, aggravated by powerful reduction processes, pose major challenges for the development of a consistent phonetic and phonological transcription needed for the documentation, revitalisation, and description of these languages. The varieties in question are studied unevenly. There exist one or more dictionaries on each but the last one. Several grammatical descriptions have been published on Votic. For Ingrian, there exists only one normative grammar written in Ingrian, and all other works describe only some particular aspects of the language. Ingrian Finnish dialects are studied even more fragmentarily. The Siberian Ingrian/Finnish had been barely known in linguistics until recently. Votic, Ingrian, and Ingrian Finnish have been in intense contact for centuries, and some of their dialects form a Sprachbund (language union) in the Lower Luga area of Western Ingria . Siberian Ingrian/Finnish is spoken in Western Siberia, but originates from Ingria, as its speakers were expelled from the Lower Luga area to the Omsk region in Siberia in 1803-1804. This mixed variety was formed in isolation from its mother languages, but shows many similar phonetic and phonological trends. There exist many phonetic and phonological studies on quantity in Finnic languages. However, broad comparative typological studies are still missing, with an exception of Viitso (1981, 2008), written in Estonian. His works are insightful yet purely theoretical, as few phonetic studies on these languages were available at that time. Modern technology provides broader possibilities for phonetic studies, and the fact that all these languages are still spoken gives the last chance to study them all simultaneously and run comparable phonetic experiments. Such experiments are urgently needed to complete phonological descriptions and transcription verifications. In particular, none of existing grammatical and other descripions provides a detailed comparative account both on the ongoing transformation of the vocalic length contrast in non-initial syllables under the influence of reduction and on the prosodically-motivated gemination of consonants, observed in all these varieties. Both phenomena occupy a central place in the dissertation. Comparative work allows to take a glance at the phonetic and phonological evolution of certain aspects of Finnic quantity, as the varieties in question manifest different developmental stages of the same phenomena. Moreover, rare phonological features of Finnic languages are of greater typological and theoretical interest, for example, the ternary quantity consonantal contrast in Estonian, Livonian, and Soikkola Ingrian, reduced voiceless vowels in Lower Luga Ingrian, or prosodically motivated gemination of consonants in di- and trisyllabic foot in Soikkola Ingrian. All these phenomena have never been discussed in general typological and theoretic literature and are addressed in this respect in the dissertation. In sum, presented results fill some of the most important remaining gaps in the phonetic and phonological description of the Finnic languages of Ingria, contributing to the documentation and revitalisation of vanishing languages, as well as to general phonetic and phonological theory and phonological typology. Existing gaps in description filled by this study are primarily linked to the quantity-related innovations in these languages, first of all, ongoing vowel reduction in non-initial syllables, which follows an isochronic (compensatory) pattern, and “anti-isochronic” (anti-compensatory) lengthening of sounds before longer sounds, including first of all the so-called secondary gemination of consonants before long vowels. These two phenomena for the first time receive a comprehensive systematic description that embraces their phonetics, phonology, evolution, and various typological and theoretical aspects. At the same time, some tradionally studied quantity-related phenomena, like Finnic grade alternation, are not touched upon in this study. Grade alternation is a historical Proto-Finnic process of quantity reduction in certain structures, related to foot isochrony. It is realtively well-studied for Finnic languages, on the one hand, and does not create issues for the transcription of the Finnic languages of Ingria, on the other hand, so it was of minor importance for the present work. The study is based on first-hand field data collected by the author and colleagues and includes phonetic experiments designed by the author. Among other things, it uses some novel experimental techniques, such as a phonemic categorisation test for non-written varieties.
|Titolo della tesi:||Dynamics of phonetic and phonological quantity in Ingrian and other Finnic languages of Ingria|
|Data di discussione:||5-mag-2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Tesi di dottorato|