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A phonetically versatile contrast: Pulmonic and glottalic voicelessness in Scottish English obstruents and voice quality

  • Olga B. Gordeeva (a1) and James M. Scobbie (a2)

This paper presents impressionistic, electroglottographic and acoustic data exploring the distribution of glottalic and pulmonic airstream in word-final Scottish English obstruents. We explore the relationship between these airstream mechanisms and aspirated or glottalised phonatory settings of individual speakers near this obstruent locus. We address the hypothesis that the tendency for pre-stop glottalisation found in some British English varieties can explain the occurrence of glottalically-released stops. This hypothesis suggests that ejectives would appear as an occasional artefact of mistimed glottalisation. We also investigate whether a glottalic airstream acts as a potential contrast enhancement mechanism, through association with /−voice/ as opposed to /+voice/ stops. We show that glottalisation and aspiration can readily co-occur in the same speaker, and that local phonatory setting (with glottalised or aspirated articulation) can be consistently used as a secondary correlate of obstruent /−voice/, in the context of stops and fricatives respectively. The results show that although glottalisation as a secondary correlate of /−voice/ stops often co-occurs with an ejective release, they are not necessarily bound together. These results argue against a simple epiphenomenal explanation for the appearance of ejective stops in English, while also showing that they are not (yet) a systematic phonological enhancement in this variety.

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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
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