LINGUIST List 15.1280

Thu Apr 22 2004

Diss: Phonetics: Hamann: 'The Phonetics...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. silke, The Phonetics and Phonology of Retroflexes

Message 1: The Phonetics and Phonology of Retroflexes

Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 04:20:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: silke <>
Subject: The Phonetics and Phonology of Retroflexes

Institution: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Program: Phonology and Morphology
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Silke Hamann

Dissertation Title: The Phonetics and Phonology of Retroflexes

Linguistic Field: Phonetics, Phonology 

Dissertation Director 1: Wim Zonneveld
Dissertation Director 2: T. A. Hall

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates the phonetic realization and
phono-logical behaviour of the class of retroflexes, i.e. sounds that
are articulated with the tongue tip or the underside of the tongue tip
against the postalveolar or palatal region. On the basis of four
articulatory properties, a new definition of retroflexes is
proposed. These properties are apicality, posteriority, sublingual
cavity, and retraction; the latter is shown to imply that retroflexes
are incom-patible with secondary palatalization.

The phonetic section gives an overview of the factors responsible for
the large articulatory variation of retroflexes and discusses
putative counterexamples of palatalized retroflexes. In addition, it
describes the acoustic realization of retroflexes and proposes the
common charac-teristic of a low third fomant.

The phonological section discusses processes involving retro-flexes
from a large number of typologically diverse languages. These
processes are shown to be grounded in the similar articulatory and
acoustic properties of the retroflex class. Furthermore, this section
gives a phonological analysis of the processes involving retroflexes
in an Optimality Theoretic framework with underlying perceptual
repre-sentations, based on Boersma's Functional Phonology. Evidence is
presented for the non-universality of the retroflex class, and for the
non-necessity of innate phonological features.

This study if of interest to phonologists and phoneticians, especially
to those working on the phonetics-phonology interface.
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