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Vowel-length differences before voiced and voiceless consonants: an auditory explanation.
Kluender, Keith R.
Diehl, Randy Larry
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Journal of Phonetics vol. 16 no. 2 (Apr. 1988)
page 153 - 170.
Lihat Detail Induk
In most languages, vowels are longer before voiced than before voiceless consonants. Attempts to explain this vowel-length difference in terms of assumed physical or physiological constraints on speech production have generally been unsuccessful. We propose the alternative hypothesis that language communities intentionally vary vowel length in order to enhance auditorily the closure-duration cue for voicing distinctions. By the principle of durational contrast, a long vowel should make a short closure interval seem even shorter and hence more voiced, whereas a short vowel should make a long closure interval appear longer and hence more voiceless. In support of this auditory hypothesis, we show that, for jabaj-japaj stimuli varying in medial closure duration and for square-wave stimuli that temporally mimic these speech stimuli, a longer initial segment causes a reliable shift in subjects' two-category labeling boundaries toward longer medial gap durations. We also discuss other ways that language communities may exploit durational contrast in order to enhance phonological distinctiveness.
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