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Phonation and laryngeal specification in American English voiceless obstruents

  • Lisa Davidson (a1)
Abstract

This study presents a detailed acoustic analysis of phonation in voiceless obstruents in American English (AE) to investigate the acoustic consequences of the laryngeal timing that has been reported in the literature. The current study examines the appearance of phonation in voiceless obstruents in a corpus of read speech with 37 AE speakers. Linguistic factors such as phrase and word position, stress, and the preceding phoneme are examined and are shown to condition the presence and degree of phonation during the constriction period of stops and fricatives. The amount of phonation present is further analyzed by characterizing where in the constriction interval phonation appears. Carryover phonation (or bleed) from a preceding sonorant is most common for stops, while a trough pattern (phonation that dies out and then begins again before the end of the closure) is more prevalent for fricatives. These acoustic patterns, together with previous reports of laryngeal articulation and air pressure measures, have implications for the representation of laryngeal timing in a gestural phonology framework.

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