ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

2pSP37. Phonetic structures of an endangered language: Montana Salish.

Edward Flemming

Phon. Lab., Dept. of Linguist., UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1543

Montana Salish, or Flathead, is an Interior Salishan language spoken by about 70 people on the Flathead reservation in Northwest Montana. This study utilized acoustic and aerodynamic data to examine three aspects of this language: (1) Like many other Salishan languages, Montana Salish permits extremely complex consonant clusters: initial sequences of five or more consonants are possible. (2) In addition to contrasts between plain and ejective stops, there are contrasts between glottalized and nonglottalized sonorants (lateral, nasals, glides, and pharyngeals). In Montana Salish, glottalized sonorants typically involve a glottal constriction early in the sonorant, i.e., they are pre-glottalized, rather than being produced with creaky voice throughout. (3) Montana Salish pharyngeals provide an interesting contrast to Semitic pharyngeals, in that they are very vocalic in character, sounding much like low back vowels. However, three distinguishing characteristics of these sounds have been identified: a pharyngeal constriction, resulting in F1 raising and F2 lowering, lowered fundamental frequency, and a change in voice quality. However there is considerable variability and not all of these properties are observable in all instances of these sounds.