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An effect of flaps on the fourth formant in English

  • Natasha Warner (a1) and Benjamin V. Tucker (a2)

Very few segments of the world's languages have been shown to have a systematic effect on the fourth formant (F4). We investigate a large drop in F4 which sometimes occurs in conjunction with the flap in American English. The goal of the present work is to document this phenomenon, and to determine what phonological environments coincide with this large drop in F4. We measure data from six speakers producing words with medial flaps in various environments, such as party, turtle, bottle, credit, harder. We find that the combination of flap with a rhotic and to a lesser extend a syllabic / / leads to a larger drop in F4 than other flap combinations like a following /i/. Together with previous perceptual data, the findings support the conclusion that this feature of F4 results from transitions among articulations.

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Pierre Delattre & Donald C. Freeman . 1968. A dialect study of American r's by X-ray motion picture. Linguistics 6 (44), 2968.

Donald Derrick & Bryan Gick . 2011. Individual variation in English flaps and taps: A case of categorical phonetics. The Canadian Journal of Linguistics/La revue canadienne de linguistique 56 (3), 307319.

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Jeff Mielke , Adam Baker & Diana Archangeli , 2016. Individual-level contact limits phonological complexity: Evidence from bunched and retroflex /ɹ/. Language 92 (1), 101140.

Winifred Strange & Sybilla Dittmann . 1984. Effects of discrimination training on the perception of /rl/ by Japanese adults learning English. Perception & Psychophysics 36 (2), 131145.

Natasha Warner , Amy Fountain & Benjamin V. Tucker . 2009. Cues to perception of reduced flaps. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 125, 33173327.

Natasha Warner & Benjamin V. Tucker . 2011. Phonetic variability of stops and flaps in spontaneous and careful speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 130, 16061617.

Xinhui Zhou , Carol Y. Espy-Wilson , Suzanne Boyce , Mark Tiede , Christy Holland & Ann Choe . 2008. A magnetic resonance imaging-based articulatory and acoustic study of ‘retroflex’ and ‘bunched’ American English /r/. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 123 (6), 44664481.

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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association
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