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Evidence for three-level vowel length in Ageer Dinka

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Abstract

Three-level vowel length is typologically unusual, and the supporting evidenceis limited (Odden, 2011). One of the most compelling hypothesized cases forthis configuration is Dinka, a Western Nilotic language. This paper expands theevidence base for Dinka, through an acoustic study of the Ageer dialect. Ageeris geographically distant from the Agar dialect, for which three-level vowellength was first postulated in Dinka (Andersen, 1987). It is also distant fromthe Luanyjang and Bor dialects, on the basis of which this hypothesis was testedacoustically. The results corroborate the three-level vowel length hypothesis forDinka: lexical and morphological quantity condition a salient three-way splitin vowel duration. Coda duration and vowel quality do not reveal comparabledifferences.

References

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