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LINGUIST List 20.2615

Sun Jul 26 2009

Diss: Phonetics: Eftychiou: 'Lenition Processes in Cypriot Greek'

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        1.    Eftychia Eftychiou, Lenition Processes in Cypriot Greek

Message 1: Lenition Processes in Cypriot Greek
Date: 26-Jul-2009
From: Eftychia Eftychiou <eftychiou.egmail.com>
Subject: Lenition Processes in Cypriot Greek
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Institution: University of Cambridge
Program: Department of Engineering
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Eftychia Eftychiou

Dissertation Title: Lenition Processes in Cypriot Greek

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Subject Language(s): Greek (ell)

Dissertation Director:

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates Connected Speech Processes (CSPs) of Cypriot
Greek. Its main objective is to offer insight into the nature of such
processes and to illustrate how they are linked via their common status as
cases of lenition. According to previous studies, CSPs can be either
categorical, involving discrete changes from one form of a word to another,
or gradient, in which case the change is achieved in varying degrees. The
thesis examines CSPs never before investigated for Cypriot Greek, and
therefore it aims to make a significant contribution to the knowledge of
the phonetics of this underinvestigated linguistic system. Chapter 2
reports an acoustic investigation of the process of final vowel lenition
whereby close vowels are not realised canonically when occurring in
unstressed positions, and demonstrates that the process is gradient. It
further investigates the link between vowel lenition and coarticulation by
hypothesising that lenited vowels exert coarticulatory influence on
preceding consonants, thus making them acoustically different from
consonants occurring in different environments. Moreover, this chapter
describes the variable consonantal realisations in Cypriot Greek, reveals
that vowel realisation is dependent on the realisation of the preceding
consonant, and offers an aerodynamic explanation for this phenomenon.
Chapter 3 examines the possible contribution of the CSP of vowel lenition
to the rhythmic structure of Cypriot Greek and concludes that vowel
lenition is not a manifestation of an alternating rhythmic pattern. Chapter
4 reports an acoustic experiment investigating the possible influences of
higher grammatical levels on phonetic realisation by discussing an instance
of fricative lenition according to which /s/ is lenited when followed by
voiced consonants but not in cases when grammatical boundaries intervene.
The experiment corroborates the results of previous studies on a similar
phenomenon in Standard Greek by demonstrating that lenition exists despite
the presence of prosodic or syntactic boundaries, and is gradient in
nature. Chapter 5 presents a perceptual study illustrating the perceptual
salience of the strong vowel-to-consonant coarticulation which was
investigated acoustically in Chapter 2. Finally, Chapter 6 discusses all
the experimental results in terms of the common status of these CSPs as
instances of lenition, and considers directions for future research.

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