Speaker: Morgan Sleeper (UCSB)
Topic: "Tone, tune, and virtual voices: Musical data in language documentation and revitalization"
Reception: All are invited to a reception following the talk
Tone, tune, and virtual voices:
Musical data in language documentation and revitalization
University of California, Santa Barbara
Linguists have long examined language in musical contexts, just as ethnomusicologists have considered the language(s) of the musics they study, and an increasing number of scholars are now combining (ethno)musicological and linguistic approaches in analysis. With these recent advancements in mind, this talk introduces new methodologies for integrating musical and linguistic data in both structural linguistic analysis and language revitalization efforts, each illustrated through a representative study. In the first, I introduce a novel method for integrating musical transcription into language documentation using ABC notation in ELAN, which reveals a striking correspondence between lexical tone and musical melody in Tlahuapa Tù'un Sàví, a Mixtec language of Guerrero, Mexico. In the second, I combine musical and linguistic data to create a Cherokee UTAUloid — a combination speech and music synthesizer for collaborative songwriting — to aid in musical language revitalization efforts. Together, these studies show the rich potential of music in linguistic research: the combination of music and language in song offers a unique opportunity for analyses and revitalization projects not otherwise possible, and the methodologies demonstrated here aim to make this combination as accessible as possible for linguists to use in their own work.