LINGUIST List 25.118

Thu Jan 09 2014

Diss: Phonetics: Graetzer: 'An Acoustic Study of Coarticulation ...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 06-Jan-2014
From: Simone Graetzer <>
Subject: An Acoustic Study of Coarticulation: Consonant-Vowel and Vowel-to-Vowel Coarticulation in Four Australian Languages
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Institution: University of Melbourne
Program: School of Languages and Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Simone Graetzer

Dissertation Title: An Acoustic Study of Coarticulation: Consonant-Vowel and Vowel-to-Vowel Coarticulation in Four Australian Languages

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Subject Language(s): Arrernte, Eastern (aer)
                            Burarra (bvr)
                            Gupapuyngu (guf)
                            Warlpiri (wbp)

Dissertation Director:
John Hajek
Janet Fletcher

Dissertation Abstract:

Acoustic phonetic experiments were conducted with the aim of describing
spatial coarticulation in consonants and vowels in four Australian
languages: Arrernte, Burarra, Gupapuyngu and Warlpiri. Interactions were
examined between coarticulation and factors such as consonant place of
articulation (the location of the point of maximal consonantal constriction
in the vocal tract), the position of the consonant relative to the vowel
(preceding or following), prosodic prominence and language. The principal
motivation was to contribute to the experimental literature on
coarticulation in Australian languages, given their unusual phonological
characteristics. The results of acoustic measurements show that in stop
consonant and vowel production, there are systematic contrasts between
consonant places of articulation, especially between peripheral (i.e.,
bilabial and dorso-velar) and non-peripheral categories, and there are
clearly discernible consonant place-dependent differences in the degree of
vowel-to-consonant and consonant-to-vowel coarticulation. Additionally,
consonant place of articulation is seen to strongly modulate vowel-to-vowel
coarticulation. As observed in other languages, such as Catalan, Italian
and German, the degree of vowel-to-consonant coarticulation is seen to vary
inversely with the degree of consonantal articulatory constraint (i.e.,
degree of tongue dorsum raising), as does the degree of segmental
context-sensitivity. However, findings reported in this dissertation
suggest that, unlike results reported previously for European languages
such as English, anticipatory vowel-to-consonant coarticulation tends to
exceed carryover coarticulation in these languages. With regard to prosodic
effects on coarticulation, it appears that prominent vowels do not
typically undergo localised hyper-articulation or acoustical expansion as
in English, Dutch and German. It is concluded that these results support
the view that the maintenance of consonant place of articulation
distinctions is pre-eminent in Australian languages. The analyses that are
presented contribute to an understanding of the role of consonant place of
articulation in coarticulation and, more generally, of the relationship
between the acoustics and the biomechanics of speech.

Page Updated: 09-Jan-2014