LINGUIST List 10.554

Sun Apr 18 1999

Books: Phonetics & Phonology

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  1. Paul Peranteau, Phonetics and Phonology of Tense and Lax Obstruents in German, Jessen

Message 1: Phonetics and Phonology of Tense and Lax Obstruents in German, Jessen

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 09:43:03 -0400
From: Paul Peranteau <>
Subject: Phonetics and Phonology of Tense and Lax Obstruents in German, Jessen

John Benjmains Publishing would like to announce the following linguistic

Phonetics and Phonology of Tense and Lax Obstruents in German.
Michael JESSEN
Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics 44
90 272 1553 7 / NLG 178.00 (Hardcover)
1 55619 895 7 / USD 89.00 (Hardcover)

Knowing that the so-called voiced and voiceless stops in languages like
English and German do not always literally differ in voicing, several
linguists - among them Roman Jakobson - have proposed that dichotomies
such as fortis/lenis or tense/lax might be more suitable to capture the
invariant phonetic core of this distinction. Later it became the dominant
view that voice onset time or laryngeal features are more reasonable
alternatives. However, based on a number of facts and arguments from
current phonetics and phonology this book claims that the Jakobsonian
feature tense was rejected prematurely. Among the theoretical aspects
addressed, it is argued that an acoustic definition of distinctive
features best captures the functional aspects of speech communication,
while it is also discussed how the conclusions are relevant for formal
accounts, such as feature geometry. The invariant of tense is proposed to
be durational, and its 'basic correlate' is proposed to be aspiration
duration. It is shown that tense and voice differ in their invariant
properties and basic correlates, but that they share a number of other
correlates, including F0 onset and closure duration. In their stop systems
languages constitute a typology between the selection of voice and tense,
but in their fricative systems languages universally tend towards a
syncretism involving voicing and tenseness together. Though the proposals
made here are intended to have general validity, the emphasis is on
German. As part of this focus, an acoustic study and a transillumination
study of the realization of /p,t,k,f,s/ vs. /b,d,g,v,z/ in German are

John Benjamins Publishing Co.
P O Box 27519
Philadelphia PA 19118-0519

Ph: 215-836-1200
Fax: 215 836-1204
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