Lexical stress and stop bursts in Pitjantjatjara: feature enhancement of neutralized apicals and the coronal/velar contrast

M Tabain, Andrew Butcher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study investigates duration and spectral properties of the stop burst for /p t t. c k/, the five oral stops of Pitjantjatjara, a language of Central Australia. We focus on stressed vs. unstressed syllables, with stressed syllables also being word-initial in Pitjantjatjara. Notably, the contrast between the apico-alveolar /t/ and the medial apico-postalveolar (retroflex) /t/ is neutralized in initial position, which is the stressed position. We label this neutralized apical /T/, and show that the stop burst for this prosodically prominent apical has an even higher spectral center of gravity than either of its non-neutralized counterparts. By contrast, the velar /k/ shows a lower spectral center of gravity in stressed position. We suggest that this reflects an enhancement of the feature [grave], with the apical being "lighter" and the velar being "darker" under stress (the bilabial and the palatal show relatively few spectral effects, due to acoustic and coarticulatory considerations respectively). However, the stressed apical /T/ does not have a longer stop burst duration in initial position, a result that is contrary to the other stop bursts examined here, and which goes against expected patterns of prosodic strengthening. We suggest that this is because a phonetic feature, short [burst duration], is an important cue to apical consonant identity in a system with many places of articulation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-80
    Number of pages14
    JournalJOURNAL OF PHONETICS
    Volume50
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Lexical stress and stop bursts in Pitjantjatjara: feature enhancement of neutralized apicals and the coronal/velar contrast'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this