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Acoustic Characteristics of Kannada (An Old and Rare Book)

Acoustic Characteristics of Kannada (An Old and Rare Book)
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Item Code: NAW162
Author: B.B. Rajapurohit
Publisher: Central Institute Of Indian Languages, Mysore
Language: English
Edition: 1982
Pages: 52
Other Details: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
weight of the book: 0.11 kg
The Central Institute of Indian Languages was set up on the 17th July, 1969 with a view to assisting and co-ordinating the development of Indian languages. The Institute was charged with the responsibility of serving as a nucleus to bring together all the research and literary out-put from the various linguistic streams to a common head and narrowing the gap between basic research and developmental research in the fields of languages and linguistics in India.

The Institute and its five Regional Language Centres are thus engaged in research and teaching which lead to the publication of a wide-ranging variety of materials. Preparation of materials designed for teaching/learning at different levels and suited to specific needs is one of the major areas of interest of the Institute. Basic research relating to the acquisition of language and study of language in its manifold psycho-social relations constitutes another broad range of interest. The publications include materials produced by the members of the staff of the Central Institute of Indian Languages and its Regional Language Centres and associated, scholars from universities and institutions, both Indian and foreign.

The phonetic studies of Indian languages have not received serious attention of Indian linguists. Acoustic studies particularly have received still lesser attention. Dr. R. N. Srivastava and Dr. B. S. Sandhog did pioneering work in the area. But their dissertations are not available in print. Apart from the occasional articles in the professional journals, acoustic studies of Indian languages are made by Jorje Kostic and his collaborators in their series of books: A Short Outline of Bengali Phonetics, A Short Outline of Telugu Phonetics and A Short Outline of Hindi Phonetics. The nature of those series of books is such that they give an insight into the acoustic properties of sounds of respective languages, but the functional analysis of sounds, which a linguist aims at, was not their aim. Dr. Velayudhan had made an acoustic study of vowel duration in Malayalam. Publication of that book by the Dravidian Linguistic Association is creditable. Mrs. Agama Reddy has completed her acoustic studies in England. It is hoped that publication of her work will add to the literature.

In the present monograph, Dr. B. B. Rajapurohit has laid emphasis on the functional analysis. He has tried to explore the potentialities of acoustic analysis from the point of its utility for phonemic analysis. The general acoustic characteristics of Kannada sounds have also been brought out here.

Dr. Rajapurohit had been deputed to Leningrad State University, USSR, to study the techniques of acoustic analysis, under Indo-Soviet Cultural Exchange Programme. We are thankful to the Soviet authorities who provided facilities for this work. The study of acoustic characteristics of Kannada, or any language for that matter, has not ended with these results. In fact, it is a beginning. The Central Institute of Indian Languages has plans to undertake selected Indian languages for detailed acoustic study.

I hope that this book will find favour with scholars. I thank all those responsible for bringing out this volume expeditiously.

0.1 Overview: The three branches of phonetics-auditory, articulator and acoustic-are interdependent and complementary to each other. It has been well established that the right perception of sounds can shape the motor mechanics of articulation. Those who cannot hear are unable to speak, though his physiology of their speech mechanism might be normal. A common man, with normal hearing, develops habits of speech of the language with which he constantly comes in contact. But a trained articulator phonetician can produce the sounds of any language because his hearing faculty would have been trained to perceive all the types of sounds and to produce any sound and to compare the result with the original. In this process the human ear performs a role which can never be replaced by any man-made machine. No microphone of a tape recorder or an oscillograph or a spectrograph can surpass it. Acoustic phonetics studies the physical properties of sounds and provides a language to distinguish one sound from another in quality and quantity. However well-trained an articulator phonetician be he is likely to be influenced by 'the speech characteristics of the language acquired by him from childhood, or before learning phonetics. In this context the mechanical study of speech sounds can provide him with an objective view point about the speech sounds. 0.2 The Scope of Acoustic Phonetics There have been a number of instruments and machines that have been designed for the study of physical characteristics of speech. With the laryngoscope it is possible to see the activities of different parts of the vocal cords. With palaeography, which are the impressions of articulators on an artificial palate, it is possible to study the points of articulation of some sounds and also the manner of articulation of some sounds. But the artificial palate causes some discomfort to the subject.

Hence the results are affected. Recently the Department of Phonetics of Edinburgh University has developed a technique of 'Direct palaeography' by which, it is said, and the impressions on the palate can be directly studied.

The classical Kymograph, which records the chest pulses quite reliably, is still indispensable to the study of the breath stream process, especially in the case of stressed vowels.

There are also separate machines to display the pitch and intensity of sounds. The 'Pitch Meter' and 'Intensity Meter' of F. J. Electronics are such machines. The 'Audio Frequency Filter' by the same company separates the frequencies for auditory discrimination of sounds. The 'Vibrator Boxes' and `48 channel audio Frequency Filter, the potentialities of which are explored by Jorje Kostic in speech therapy, are used to discriminate between voiced and voiceless sounds by the sense of touch and to determine the degree of deafness of the ear to certain frequencies.

The Mingograph, which traces the wave form similar to the oscillograph tracings, is used for wave form analysis. It is possible to calculate the frequency of the fundamental tone (F0), the first formant (F,) and the bandwidth (B1) of F, on the basis of the monograph tracings'.

By an oscilloscope the wave forms are displayed on the screen of the Cathode Ray Tube. It is possible to record them by taking a photograph with a Polaroid camera. This cumber-some process has been simplified by the Direct Recording Oscillograph, which takes the oscillograms on 35 mm film with a movie camera. The details of this machine are given in chapter 2.

The Kay Telemetric Sonagraph is another important and useful machine. It records the time and the concentration of acoustic energy at different frequency levels by way of formants. Utterances upto duration of 2.4 seconds can be taken at a time. It also requires about 5 minute's operational time to take a spectrogram of each utterance. The spectrograms are quite wide, that is about 4 inches, to show all the variations.

The 48 channel sound Spectrograph, which takes the spectrograms on 35 mm film, can handle utterances of about 3 minutes safely with one loading of camera. It is a very convenient machine for quick extraction of Spectrograms. Since the area in which the Spectrograms are marked is only 24 mm wide it is difficult to read them accurately with bare eyes. A `Readet' is used for the purpose. But from the point of speed of operation there is nothing like this machine. The details of this machine are given in chapter 3. Gunnar Fant has also described a similar kind of machine designed by H. Sund at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

There are a number of other machines such as Spectrometer, Glottograph, etc, which are used for obtaining different kinds of readings for different purposes. The physicists and the communication engineers, who are also engaged in studying the physical properties of sounds, make use of different kinds of machines depending upon their purpose. X-ray studies of the activities of the vocal tract are also made".

0.3. The Extent of Acoustic study

The acoustic study in itself is of secondary importance to linguists, because, linguists are primarily interested in the functional analysis of speech sounds. The answer to the question whether acoustic phonetics can be of any help in the functional analysis of speech sounds is in the negative•' Ultimately, the linguists aim at the phonemic system of the language. Acoustic phonetics cannot do the phonemic analysis. However, the techniques of acoustic phonetics can be of great help in the phonetic analysis of the functionally established units and in the study of the general relations between various stages of a speech event."

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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