These are the instructions for the "standard" phonetics project. If there is some other project that you would rather undertake, I am happy to consider it. Please come and discuss it with me.
(1) Find a speaker of some language, preferably, of which you are not a native speaker.
(2) Work with this speaker to develop a minimal set of utterances, demonstrating the contrastive consonant segments. For most languages, the greatest number of contrastive consonants can be found in word initial position, so you should focus your attention there, and attempt to come up with a list of words in which the word-initial consonant differs, but the rest of the word remains the same. (There are some languages in which word-medial position is better for a minimal set of consonants, as most words of the language begin with vowels). Then, you can find how the set of possibilities differs in final position. In addition, develop a list of words demonstrating the contrastive vowel segments, again keeping the rest of the word constant. In your language, it may not be possible to come up with a single minimal set that will cover all contrastive segments. In that case, choose environments as similar as possible. For example, see if you can, at least, demonstrate all the stops in the same environment and perhaps then all the fricatives in another. To develop this word list, you may use secondary sources on your language (if they exist), but you will also have to work a bit with your speaker, because you cannot trust the phonetic descriptions you find in a grammar to be accurate for the particular dialect (speaker) you are investigating! In general, these descriptions will give you an idea of the number and type of contrasts to expect, but their phonetic identity will almost always differ from what you read. The goal of the exercise is to have you describe the phonetics. Also, your language may be represented in A Course in Phonetics. Again, don't assume that the descriptions there apply to your speaker.
Tips on what to do if there are no secondary sources for your language (relatively rare): Ask for rhyming words. You will start to develop a list of words that differ only in their initial consonants. Use a similar procedure (alliteration) for vowels.
(3) Once you have the list set, record a demonstration of the word list, with you reading the English gloss of each word, and then the speaker giving the word in the target language. The best procedure is to record fhe speaker directly onto a computer. You can use your own (if you have a quiet place to record), or bring the speaker into the Phonetics Lab. Organize the recording into coherent subsections. A large file containing the recording can then be edited into pieces for analysis with Praat.
(4) Produce a text to go along with the recording that shows the contrasting consonants and vowels in a format like the individual languages you have looked at for listening quizzes. Unlike those materials, however, you will be describing the entire consonant and vowel inventory, rather than a subset. Divide the consonants (and vowels) into coherent subgroups for the purpose of demonstration (e.g., stops, fricative, approximants, etc.). For each demonstrated item, give a narrow phonetic transcription of the utterance in the recording
(5) Produce an analysis of the system of contrasts, both using traditional descriptive terms and also in terms of gestures. For consonants that involve multiple gestures, propose a gestural score showing how the component gestures are organized in time.
(6) Perform additional analyses quantitative analyes using Praat, as relevant to the particular language, and to support your analysis. Some possibilities:
(a) Measure the VOT (voice onset time) of stops in a language to support the analysis of the stops as voiced, voicless unaspirated, voiceless aspirated, or other..
(b) Make spectrograms of the vowels and produce a vowel formant chart.
(c) Meaasure fundamental frequency is contrastive tones
(d) Measure the duration of vowels before voiced and voiceless consonants (if your language has these), the changes in the duration of consonants when they combine into clusters, or some other phonetically relevant durational measures
(e) Determine whether stop consonants are released in clusters.
(f) Estimate overlap in clusters by comparing the durations of single C with the duration of CC clusters.
(7) Every issue of the Journal of the IPA has short articles illustrarting some language. The form of your paper should be like one of these illustrative pieces. I will be making some of these available.
(8) The first step is to let me know what language you intend to examine and to make suggestions about what analyses you propose to do..
(9) I would like everyone to give a short presentation on their findings during the last week of classes, April 24 and April 26.