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Initial laryngeal neutralisation in Tyrolean

  • Alessandro Vietti (a1), Birgit Alber (a2) and Barbara Vogt (a3)

In the Southern Bavarian variety of Tyrolean, laryngeal contrasts undergo a typologically interesting process of neutralisation in word-initial position. We undertake an acoustic analysis of Tyrolean stops in word-initial, word-medial intersonorant and word-final contexts, as well as in obstruent clusters, investigating the role of the acoustic parameters VOT, prevoicing, closure duration and F0 and H1–H2* on following vowels in implementing contrast, if any. Results show that stops contrast word-medially via [voice] (supported by the acoustic cues of closure duration and F0), and are neutralised completely in word-final position and in obstruent clusters. Word-initially, neutralisation is subject to inter- and intraspeaker variability, and is sensitive to place of articulation. Aspiration plays no role in implementing laryngeal contrasts in Tyrolean.

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The authors would like to thank audiences at the Ferrara International Phonology Meeting 2014 and the DGfS-Jahrestagung 2015, Leipzig for feedback. They also thank Dinah Baer-Henney, Franz Lanthaler and Ruben van de Vijver for helpful and interesting discussions. Comments from the anonymous reviewers of Phonology were essential in helping us to give the paper its current (and, we hope) improved shape.

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