LINGUIST List 15.684

Tue Feb 24 2004

Diss: Phonology: Diakoumakou: 'Coarticulatory...'

Editor for this issue: Tomoko Okuno <>


  1. evidiak, Coarticulatory Vowel Nasalization in Modern Greek

Message 1: Coarticulatory Vowel Nasalization in Modern Greek

Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 08:12:28 -0500 (EST)
From: evidiak <>
Subject: Coarticulatory Vowel Nasalization in Modern Greek

Institution: University of Michigan
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Evanthia Diakoumakou

Dissertation Title: Coarticulatory Vowel Nasalization in Modern Greek

Linguistic Field: Phonetics, Phonology 
Subject Language: Greek (code: GRK )

Dissertation Director 1: Patrice Beddor

Dissertation Abstract:

The focus of this research is the experimental investigation of
coarticulatory vowel nasalization in different syllabic contexts in
Modern Greek. Greek serves as a detailed case study for exploring the
hypothesis that the extent of vowel nasalization in a language is
linked to that language's tendency for open or closed syllable
structures. The study consists of three parts: an overview of the
phonetic and phonological facts of Modern Greek with an emphasis on
the behavior of nasal consonants and the syllable structure of the
language, an acoustic study of coarticulatory vowel nasalization in
Modern Greek, and an assessment of the existing experimental
literature on vowel nasalization in other languages.

Modern Greek was chosen as a case study because it has a tendency for
open syllables and because its patterns of nasals and nasalization are
under-investigated. The chapter on phonetic and phonological aspects
of Modern Greek serves as background as well as justification for the
experimental investigation of vowel nasalization in this language. The
acoustic analysis of the temporal extent of vowel nasalization in the
productions of six native speakers of (Standard) Modern Greek showed
that the temporal extent of anticipatory vowel nasalization is limited
in all contexts, although it is more extensive before tautosyllabic
than heterosyllabic nasals. On the other hand, carryover vowel
nasalization, especially in stressed NV! sequences, was significantly
longer than anticipatory. (On average, in stressed syllables,
heterosyllabic anticipatory nasalization was 27 ms long, tautosyllabic
anticipatory was 48 ms long, and carryover was 70 ms.) The carryover
pattern, together with the finding that syllable-initial consonants
were longer in stressed NV! syllables than in unstressed NV syllables,
point toward a large nasal (velum) gesture at the onset of stressed
syllables. The results of the acoustic analysis are interpreted within
the coproduction theory of speech production, which provides a unified
account of anticipatory and carryover coarticulation.

The Modern Greek data are consistent with the hypothesis that
languages with a tendency for open syllables exhibit limited
anticipatory nasalization. Review of vowel nasalization studies for 10
other languages also indicates patterns that are generally consistent
with this claim. Although more detailed experimental studies are
necessary for comprehensive evaluation of this hypothesis, these
findings suggest that investigation of the prosodic organization of
languages may prove fruitful in determining the factors that lead to
cross-language coarticulatory differences regarding vowel
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