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German fricatives: coda devoicing or positional faithfulness?*

  • Jill Beckman (a1), Michael Jessen (a2) and Catherine Ringen (a1)

In this paper we show how Jessen & Ringen's (2002) analysis of voicing in German stops can be extended to account for the voicing of German fricatives. It is argued that while stops in German contrast for the feature [spread glottis], fricatives contrast for [voice] (and [spread glottis]). Our analysis, which involves presonorant faithfulness, is compared to an analysis with coda devoicing. We show that the two analyses make crucially different predictions, and present experimental evidence in support of the presonorant faithfulness analysis. The experimental results show considerable variation, which can be accommodated in our OT analysis.

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