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Mising is a Tibeto-Burman language of the Sino-Tibetan Language family spoken in the Brahmaputra valley of upper Assam region and some parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Mising, Adi, Galo and some other linguistically and culturally related tribes, who believe their common ancestor as ‘Abotani’, are categorized as ‘Tani’ group of people. According to the census report of 2011, there are 6,19,197 speakers in Assam who use Mising as their mother tongue. Like most Tani languages, Mising has a seven vowel inventory with contrastive vowel length. Although most Tani languages have tonal contrasts in words, Mising lacks lexical tones, however scholars opine that the presence of durational or length difference in vowels, which also serves to distinguish meanings in words, could mean that there was originally a tone difference in those words rather than mere vowel length. This also comes from the fact that durational differences are often accompanied by differences in intonation. Although much work has been done on the phonology of the Mising language, an acoustic analysis of the phonemes is non-existent. Hence, this paper will make an attempt to look into the acoustic properties of vowels in Mising. Data has been collected from seven native speakers of Mising frm Assam in the age group 22 to 43 years. The datalist consisted of 70 Mising words in CV.CVC context with the 7 target vowels (long and short) /ɔ, a, i, u, e, ɨ, ə/ in the first syllable of the word as shown in the table. Speakers were recorded producing the words in a natural sentence, in isolation and in a sentence frame. The recordings were done in a noiseless environment using a Shure unidirectional head-worn microphone connected to a Tascam linear PCM recorder via xlr jack. The sampling frequency was kept at 44.1 kHz and 24 bit in .wav format. The data recorded was segmented phoneme-wise in Praat 5.4. The onset of a steady state formant was considered vowel beginning and the termination of the steady state was considered vowel end. A Praat script using the Burg algorithm was used to calculate duration, F1 and F2 in Mel at the midpoint of the steady state. Another Praat script was used to calculate the pitch of the vowel at every 10% of the vowel duration. Based on the results from the preliminary analysis, this paper reports the acoustic characteristics of pitch, formant frequencies and durational properties of the vowels in Mising.
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