Kaytetye and Prosodic Theory

Alison Ross and Myf Turpin

Alison Ross and Myfany Turpin recording at the Desert People Centre’s sound studio in Alice Springs to create audio for Kaytetye language learning resources.

This project seeks to understand the structure of syllables and words in the Australian language, Kaytetye.  The project will consider the implications of Kaytetye sound structure for general theories of phonology, and more importantly, for ideas about universals in language. Kaytetye is an endangered language spoken by some 200 people, 300kms north of Alice Springs.

A number of linguists are working on this project: Mark Harvey (University of Newcastle), Myf Turpin and Michael Proctor (Macquarie University). There are also some graduate students: Forrest Panther (Newcastle University), Nay San (Macquarie University) and Katia Ringbauer (Macquarie University). There are many Kaytetye speakers working on this project, including Alison Ross, Shirly Ampetyane and Tommy Jangala.

In July the project ran a phonetics and phonology workshop on Arandic languages in Alice Springs with assistance from Melbourne University. New analyses of the sound systems of these languages were discussed and new approaches and methodologies for phonetic and phonological analysis were demonstrated.

We are also collaborating with Indigenous organisation Batchelor Institute to assist in the production of Kaytetye language resources. We have been targeting words in the domain of the natural world, and we hope to update the Kaytetye bird app, which can be downloaded here, with these new recordings soon.

Katia, Nay and Forrest have been working on phonetic transcriptions of Kaytetye and linking digital audio with published Kaytetye resources, such as the Learners Guide to Kaytetye and the Kaytetye to English Dictionary published through IAD Press. Kaytetye language resources. We have been targeting words in the domain of the natural world, and we hope to update the Kaytetye bird app, which can be downloaded here, with these new recordings soon.