College of Letters & Science

Linguistics Fridays Colloquium Talk - Cudworth

Event Date
201 Van Hise

Menominee Sibilants

Andrea Cudworth, UW-Madison


This paper analyzes sibilants in Menominee through the historical record and modern acoustic analysis. Menominee has maintained [s] and [ʃ], though they are no longer contrastive as they were in Proto-Algonquian (Bloomfield 1946). Analysis of audio recordings over 40 years shows that sibilants surface across the whole [s]-[ʃ] range that was formerly bimodally divided, pointing to a ‘merger of expansion’ as proposed by Herold (1990) and Labov (1994). Measurements also show an apparent shift in average Hz of COG between the 1970s - 2000s in Menominee, indicating that sibilants have become increasingly [s]-like over the past 40 years.