Documenting Sound Change with Smartphone Apps

Leemann, Adrian and Kolly, Marie-José and Britain, David and Purves, Ross and Glaser, Elvira (2015) Documenting Sound Change with Smartphone Apps. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137 (4): 2304. ISSN 0001-4966

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Crowdsourcing linguistic phenomena with smartphone applications is relatively new. Apps have been used to train acoustic models for automatic speech recognition (de Vries et al. 2014) and to archive endangered languages (Iwaidja Inyaman Team 2012). Leemann and Kolly (2013) developed a free app for iOS—Dialäkt Äpp (DÄ) (>78k downloads)—to document language change in Swiss German. Here, we present results of sound change based on DÄ data. DÄ predicts the users’ dialects: for 16 variables, users select their dialectal variant. DÄ then tells users which dialect they speak. Underlying this prediction are maps from the Linguistic Atlas of German-speaking Switzerland (SDS, 1962-2003), which documents the linguistic situation around 1950. If predicted wrongly, users indicate their actual dialect. With this information, the 16 variables can be assessed for language change. Results revealed robustness of phonetic variables; lexical and morphological variables were more prone to change. Phonetic variables like to lift (variants: /lupfə, lʏpfə, lipfə/) revealed SDS agreement scores of nearly 85%, i.e., little sound change. Not all phonetic variables are equally robust: ladle (variants: /xælə, xællə, xæuə, xæɫə, xæɫɫə/) exhibited significant sound change. We will illustrate the results using maps that show details of the sound changes at hand.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? acoustics and ultrasonics ??
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Deposited On:
20 Jun 2018 13:04
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 17:58