Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Allison Burkette


This thesis uses data from the Princeville, NC section of the Corpus of Regional African American Language (CORAAL) in order to address two topics concerning language: first, what the intonation of the Princeville participants of the CORAAL looks like acoustically; and second, if intonation is the salient feature that categorizes a speaker as Black or non-Black. The acoustic analysis software, Praat (Boersma & Weenink 2019), is used to take average, minimum, and maximum f0 measurements for 16 participants (9 women and 7 men) across three age groups. From these measurements, the rate of change is calculated in Hz/second to determine the fluctuations in pitch within the pitch range across an utterance. Results in response to the first question suggest that female participants followed a more identifiable average f0 pattern than their male counterparts. Additionally, female participants tended to have higher minimum and maximum f0 measurements, as well as higher rates of change. In response to the second question, the ethicality and morality of asking certain research questions is examined. It is suggested that, rather than potentially essentializing individual linguistic features which belong to a broader social system of meaning, we instead turn towards a critical examination of the field's practices, methods, and theories, and how these in turn fit within broader systems of domination like white supremacy.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)