Harder, Kathryn

Project title: Examining Sound Change in Hulq’umi’num’

Department: Linguistics

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sonya Bird and Prof. Alexandra D’Arcy

"The goal of this project is to determine how Hul’q’umi’num’ pronunciation has changed over time and across speakers living in different locations. This project will make use of archival recordings from the 1970s to 2000s made by Drs. Tom Hukari and Donna Gerdts. These archival materials provide the opportunity to explore a wide range of features in the Hul’q’umi’num’ sound system, as realized in spoken language. Based on auditory impressions of sounds that vary in interesting ways, possible foci for the project include the vowel /e/ and the consonants /q/ and /tl’/. Similar research documenting change in Maori shows that New Zealand English has increasingly influenced Maori pronunciation overall, and yet new generations of Maori speakers appear to be exhibiting sociolinguistic change that is driven by their own internal social network, rather than contact with New Zealand English. The current project will replicate the methods of existing Maori studies as closely as possibly, to document variation in Hul’q’umi’num’ pronunciation. The study is of interest to members of the Hul’q’umi’num’ language community and, on a broader scale, it will contribute to the emerging literature on sociolinguistic variation in minority/indigenous languages."