An EPG study of palatal consonants in two Australian languages

M Tabain, Janet Fletcher, Andrew Butcher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    This study presents EPG (electro-palatographic) data on (alveo-)palatal consonants from two Australian languages, Arrernte and Warlpiri. (Alveo-)palatal consonants are phonemic for stop, lateral and nasal manners of articulation in both languages, and are laminal articulations. However, in Arrernte, these lamino-(alveo-)palatals contrast with lamino-dental consonants for all three manners of articulation (i.e., it is a double-laminal language), whereas in Warlpiri this laminal contrast does not exist (i.e., it is a single-laminal language). Data are analyzed according to manner of articulation, vowel context and phrase position. Results suggest that in the double-laminal language Arrernte, the (alveo-)palatal articulation is further back than in the single-laminal language Warlpiri, presumably due to the presence of the lamino-dental in the Arrernte phoneme inventory. The lateral has the least contact in the back regions of the palate for both languages, but there is no significant difference in contact pattern between the stop and the nasal. However, results tentatively suggest that the nasal (alveo-)palatal is the most likely to show effects of prosodic or vocalic context, and it is suggested that this is due to the less strict airflow requirements for the nasal than for the stop or the lateral.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)265-282
    Number of pages18
    JournalLanguage and Speech
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


    • Australian languages
    • electro-palatography
    • laminals
    • manner of articulation
    • palatals


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