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Negative intraoral pressure in German: Evidence from an exploratory study

  • Susanne Fuchs (a1) and Blake Rodgers (a2)

Phonemic clicks are geographically limited to the African continent, but non-phonemic clicks can also occur in languages spoken elsewhere. One of the phonetic peculiarities of clicks is that they involve negative intraoral pressure. The current study is a survey of instances of negative intraoral pressure excursions in German, a European language which is known to show instances of weak clicks in consonant sequences. Data of spontaneous speech in monologues and read passages from 14 female subjects are analysed. Our data provide evidence that negative pressure occurs frequently in speech production, in particular in pauses (between speech intervals), and in consonant sequences. Of particular interest is that clicks can also occur without an obvious dual closure in the vocal tract. Negative pressure in pauses occurs frequently with clicks (but not exclusively) which are aligned with the pressure minimum. We conclude that these aligned clicks are epiphenomenal and reflect the interaction of the respiratory and the laryngeal systems. In consonant sequences, clicks may be present more often with front–back consonant order than the reverse, but in both cases negative pressure can be found.

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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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