Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The organisation and structure of rhotics in American English rhymes

  • Rachel Walker (a1) and Michael Proctor (a2)

Abstract

Language-specific maximal size restrictions on syllables have been defined using frames such as moraic structure. In General American English, a trimoraic syllable template makes largely successful predictions about contexts where tense/lax vowel contrasts are neutralised, but neutralisation preceding a coda rhotic has not been adequately explained. We attribute the apparent special properties of coda /ɹ/ to two characteristics of its representation, informed by our articulatory investigation: sequential coordination of dorsal and coronal subsegmental units and a high blending strength specification, corresponding to high coarticulatory dominance. Characteristics of coda laterals are compared. Our approach employs phonological representations where sequencing is encoded directly among subsegments, and coordination is sensitive to strength. Mora assignment is computed over sequencing of subsegments, predicting that complex segments may be bimoraic. The account brings phonotactics for rhymes with postvocalic liquids into line with the trimoraic template, and supports representing coordination and strength at the subsegmental level.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All

For helpful discussion on various aspects of this research, we thank especially Louis Goldstein and Caitlin Smith, and also Dani Byrd, Lisa Davidson, Ewald Enzinger, Bruce Hayes, Khalil Iskarous, Shri Narayanan, Tünde Szalay and audiences at the 165th and 172nd meetings of the ASA, ICLCE 4, LabPhon 15, MIT, New York University, OCP 9, UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz, University of Melbourne, University of Toronto, University of Tromsø, joint USC/UCLA Phonology Seminar, USC PhonLunch, USC SPAN and MQ Phonetics groups. This work has also significantly benefited from comments from an anonymous associate editor at Phonology and three anonymous reviewers. This research has been supported in part by National Institutes of Health grant R01 DC007124, Australian Research Council Award DE150100318 and a USC Dornsife Faculty Development Grant.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Alwan, Abeer A., Narayanan, Shrikanth S. & Haker, Katherine (1997). Toward articulatory-acoustic models for liquid approximants based on MRI and EPG data. Part II: The rhotics. JASA 101. 10781089.
Archangeli, Diana (1991). Syllabification and prosodic templates in Yawelmani. NLLT 9. 231283.
Bladon, R. A. W. & Al-Bamerni, Ameen (1976). Coarticulation resistance in English /l/. JPh 4. 137150.
Borowsky, Toni (2001). The vocalisation of dark l in Australian English. In Blair, David & Collins, Peter (eds.) English in Australia. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins. 6987.
Botma, Bert, Ewen, Colin J. & van der Torre, Erik Jan (2008). The syllabic affiliation of postvocalic liquids: an onset-specifier approach. Lingua 118. 12501270.
Bradley, Travis G. (2007). Morphological derived-environment effects in gestural coordination: a case study of Norwegian clusters. Lingua 117. 950985.
Browman, Catherine P. & Goldstein, Louis (1986). Towards an articulatory phonology. Phonology Yearbook 3. 219252.
Browman, Catherine P. & Goldstein, Louis (1988). Some notes on syllable structure in articulatory phonology. Phonetica 45. 140155.
Browman, Catherine P. & Goldstein, Louis (1989). Articulatory gestures as phonological units. Phonology 6. 201251.
Browman, Catherine P. & Goldstein, Louis (1992). Articulatory phonology: an overview. Phonetica 49. 155180.
Browman, Catherine P. & Goldstein, Louis (1995). Gestural syllable position effects in American English. In Bell-Berti, Fredericka & Raphael, Lawrence (eds.) Producing speech: contemporary issues. For Katherine Safford Harris. Woodbury, NY: American Institute of Physics Press. 1933.
Browman, Catherine P. & Goldstein, Louis (2000). Competing constraints on intergestural coordination and self-organization of phonological structures. Bulletin de la Communication Parlée 5. 2534.
Byrd, Dani, Tobin, Stephen, Bresch, Erik & Narayanan, Shrikanth (2009). Timing effects of syllable structure and stress on nasals: a real-time MRI examination. JPh 37. 97110.
Campbell, Fiona, Gick, Bryan, Wilson, Ian & Vatikiotis-Bateson, Eric (2010). Spatial and temporal properties of gestures in North American English /r/. Language and Speech 53. 4969.
Campos-Astorkiza, Rebeka (2004). Faith in moras: a revised approach to prosodic faithfulness. NELS 34. 163174.
Casserly, Elizabeth D. (2012). Gestures in optimality theory and the laryngeal phonology of Faroese. Lingua 122. 4165.
Clements, G. N. (1985). The geometry of phonological features. Phonology Yearbook 2. 225252.
Clements, G. N. & Keyser, Samuel J. (1983). CV phonology: a generative theory of the syllable. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Cohn, Abigail C. (2003). Phonological structure and phonetic duration: the role of the mora. Working Papers of the Cornell Phonetics Laboratory 15. 69100.
Cohn, Abigail C. & Tilsen, Sam (2015). Relation between syllable count judgments and durations of English liquid rimes. In The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015 (ed.) Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.
Davidson, Lisa (2003). The atoms of phonological representation: gestures, coordination and perceptual features in consonant cluster phonotactics. PhD dissertation, Johns Hopkins University.
Delattre, Pierre & Freeman, Donald C. (1968). A dialect study of American r’s by X-ray motion picture. Linguistics 6. 2968.
Di Paolo, Marianna & Faber, Alice (1990). Phonation differences and the phonetic content of the tense-lax contrast in Utah English. Language Variation and Change 2. 155204.
Espy-Wilson, Carol Y., Boyce, Suzanne E., Jackson, Michel, Narayanan, Shrikanth & Alwan, Abeer (2000). Acoustic modeling of American English /r/. JASA 108. 343356.
Ewen, Colin J. & Botma, Bert (2009). Against rhymal adjuncts: the syllabic affiliation of English postvocalic consonants. In Nasukawa, Kuniya & Backley, Phillip (eds.) Strength relations in phonology. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 221250.
Farnetani, E. (1990). V-C-V lingual coarticulation and its spatiotemporal domain. In Hardcastle, William J. & Marchal, Alain (eds.) Speech production and speech modelling. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 93130.
Flemming, Edward (2002). Auditory representations in phonology. London & New York: Routledge
Flemming, Edward (2004). Contrast and perceptual distinctiveness. In Hayes, Bruce, Kirchner, Robert & Steriade, Donca (eds.) Phonetically based phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 232276.
Fowler, Carol A. & Saltzman, Elliot (1993). Coordination and coarticulation in speech production. Language and Speech 36. 171195.
Gafos, Adamantios I. (2002). A grammar of gestural coordination. NLLT 20. 269337.
Gick, Bryan (1999a). A gesture-based account of intrusive consonants in English. Phonology 16. 2954.
Gick, Bryan (1999b). The organization of segment-internal gestures. In Ohala, John J., Hasegawa, Yoko, Ohala, Manjari, Granville, Daniel & Bailey, Ashlee C. (eds.) Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Berkeley: University of California. 17891792.
Gick, Bryan (2002). An X-ray investigation of pharyngeal constriction in American English schwa. Phonetica 59. 3848.
Gick, Bryan, Campbell, Fiona, Oh, Sunyoung & Tamburri-Watt, Linda (2006). Toward universals in the gestural organization of syllables: a cross-linguistic study of liquids. JPh 34. 4972.
Gick, Bryan, Iskarous, Khalil, Whalen, D. H. & Goldstein, Louis (2003). Constraints on variations in the production of English /r/. In Palethorpe, Sallyanne & Tabain, Marija (eds.) Proceedings of the 6th International Seminar on Speech Production. Sydney: Macquarie University. 7378.
Gick, Bryan, Kang, A. Min & Whalen, D. H. (2002). MRI evidence for commonality in the post-oral articulations of English vowels and liquids. JPh 30. 357371.
Gick, Bryan & Wilson, Ian (2006). Excrescent schwa and vowel laxing: cross-linguistic responses to conflicting articulatory targets. In Goldstein, Louis, Whalen, D. H. & Best, Catherine T. (eds.) Papers in Laboratory Phonology 8. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 635659.
Giegerich, Heinz J. (1992). English phonology: an introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Giles, Stephen B. & Moll, Kenneth L. (1975). Cinefluorographic study of selected allophones of English /l/. Phonetica 31. 206227.
Green, Antony Dubach (2001a). The tense–lax distinction in English vowels and the role of parochial and analogical constraints. Linguistics in Potsdam 16. 3257.
Green, Antony Dubach (2001b). American English ‘r-colored’ vowels as complex segments. Linguistics in Potsdam 16. 7078.
Guenther, Frank H., Espy-Wilson, Carol Y., Boyce, Suzanne E., Matthies, Melanie L., Zandipour, Majid & Perkell, Joseph S. (1999). Articulatory tradeoffs reduce acoustic variability during American English /r/ production. JASA 105. 28542865.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2009). Vowel duration, syllable quantity, and stress in Dutch. In Hanson, Kristin & Inkelas, Sharon (eds.) The nature of the word: studies in honor of Paul Kiparsky. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 181198.
Hall, Nancy (2003). Gestures and segments: vowel intrusion as overlap. PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Hall, T. A. (2001). The distribution of superheavy syllables in Modern English. Folia Linguistica 35. 399442.
Hall, T. A. (2002). Against extrasyllabic consonants in German and English. Phonology 19. 3375.
Halle, Morris (1977). Tenseness, vowel shift, and the phonology of the back vowels in Modern English. LI 8. 611625.
Halle, Morris & Mohanan, K. P. (1985). Segmental phonology of Modern English. LI 16. 57116.
Hammond, Michael (1997). Vowel quantity and syllabification in English. Lg 73. 117.
Hammond, Michael (1999). The phonology of English: a prosodic optimality-theoretic approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hardcastle, William & Barry, William (1989). Articulatory and perceptual factors in /l/ vocalisations in English. JIPA 15. 317.
Harris, John (1994). English sound structure. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hayes, Bruce (1989). Compensatory lengthening in moraic phonology. LI 20. 253306.
Horvath, Barbara M. & Horvath, Ronald J. (2001). A multilocality study of a sound change in progress: the case of /l/ vocalization in New Zealand and Australian English. Language Variation and Change 13. 3757.
Hyman, Larry M. (1985). A theory of phonological weight. Dordrecht: Foris. Reprinted 2003, Stanford: CSLI.
Iskarous, Khalil, McDonough, Joyce & Whalen, D. H. (2012). A gestural account of the velar fricative in Navajo. Laboratory Phonology 3. 195210.
Itô, Junko (1989). A prosodic theory of epenthesis. NLLT 7. 217259.
Krakow, Rena A. (1999). Physiological organization of syllables: a review. JPh 27. 2354.
Labov, William (1994). Principles of linguistic change. Vol. 1: Internal factors. Oxford & Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.
Labov, William, Ash, Sharon & Boberg, Charles (2006). The atlas of North American English: phonetics, phonology and sound change. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Labov, William, Karen, Mark & Miller, Corey (1991). Near-mergers and the suspension of phonemic contrast. Language Variation and Change 3. 3374.
Ladefoged, Peter & Johnson, Keith (2015). A course in phonetics. 7th edn. Stamford, Conn.: Cengage Learning.
Lavoie, Lisa & Cohn, Abigail (1999). Sesquisyllables of English: the structure of vowel-liquid syllables. In Ohala, John J., Hasegawa, Yoko, Ohala, Manjari, Granville, Daniel & Bailey, Ashlee C. (eds.) Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Vol. 1. Berkeley: University of California. 109112.
Lin, Susan, Beddor, Patrice Speeter & Coetzee, Andries W. (2014). Gestural reduction, lexical frequency, and sound change: a study of post-vocalic /l/. Laboratory Phonology 5. 936.
McCarthy, John J. & Prince, Alan (1995). Faithfulness and reduplicative identity. In Beckman, Jill N., Dickey, Laura Walsh & Urbanczyk, Suzanne (eds.) Papers in Optimality Theory. Amherst: GLSA. 249384.
McMahon, April, Foulkes, Paul & Tollfree, Laura (1994). Gestural representation and Lexical Phonology. Phonology 11. 277316.
Marin, Stefania & Pouplier, Marianne (2014). Articulatory synergies in the temporal organization of liquid clusters in Romanian. JPh 42. 2436.
Mielke, Jeff, Baker, Adam & Archangeli, Diana (2016). Individual-level contact limits phonological complexity: evidence from bunched and retroflex /ɹ/. Lg 92. 101140.
Morén, Bruce (2000). The puzzle of Kashmiri stress: implications for weight theory. Phonology 17. 365396.
Nam, Hosung (2007). Syllable-level intergestural timing model: split-gesture dynamics focusing on positional asymmetry and moraic structure. In Cole, Jennifer & Hualde, José Ignacio (eds.) Laboratory phonology 9. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 483506.
Nam, Hosung, Goldstein, Louis & Saltzman, Elliot (2009). Self-organization of syllable structure: a coupled oscillator model. In Pellegrino, François, Marisco, Egidio, Chitoran, Ioana & Coupé, Christophe (eds.) Approaches to phonological complexity. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 299328.
Narayanan, Shrikanth, Nayak, Krishna, Lee, Sungbok, Sethy, Abhinav & Byrd, Dani (2004). An approach to real-time magnetic resonance imaging for speech production. JASA 115. 17711776.
Ní Chiosáin, Máire & Padgett, Jaye (2001). Markedness, segment realization, and locality in spreading. In Lombardi, Linda (ed.) Segmental phonology in Optimality Theory: constraints and representations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 118156.
Padgett, Jaye (2008). Glides, vowels, and features. Lingua 118. 19371955.
Pouplier, Marianne (2011). The atoms of phonological representations. In Oostendorp, Marc van, Ewen, Colin J., Hume, Elizabeth & Rice, Keren (eds.) The Blackwell companion to phonology. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell. 107129.
Prieto-Vives, Pilar (1994). Vowel lengthening in Northern Italy: a case for segmental and prosodic optimization. PhD dissertation, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
Prince, Alan & Smolensky, Paul (2004). Optimality Theory: constraint interaction in generative grammar. Malden, Mass. & Oxford: Blackwell.
Proctor, Michael (2009). Gestural characterization of a phonological class: the liquids. PhD dissertation, Yale University.
Proctor, Michael & Walker, Rachel (2012). Articulatory bases of sonority in English liquids. In Parker, Steve (ed.) The sonority controversy. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. 289316.
Proctor, Michael, Walker, Rachel, Smith, Caitlin, Szalay, Tünde, Goldstein, Louis & Narayanan, Shrikanth (2018). Articulatory characterization of English liquid-final rimes. Ms, Macquarie University & University of Southern California. Available (May 2019) at http://mproctor.net/docs/proctor_etal18_liquidrimes.pdf.
Recasens, Daniel (1985). Coarticulatory patterns and degrees of coarticulatory resistance in Catalan CV sequences. Language and Speech 28. 97114.
Recasens, Daniel & Espinosa, Aina (2009). An articulatory investigation of lingual coarticulatory resistance and aggressiveness for consonants and vowels in Catalan. JASA 125. 22882298.
Recasens, Daniel, Pallarès, Maria Dolors & Fontdevila, Jordi (1997). A model of lingual coarticulation based on articulatory constraints. JASA 102. 544561.
Rosenthall, Sam (1994). Vowel/glide alternation in a theory of constraint interaction. PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Sagey, Elizabeth (1986). The representation of features and relations in nonlinear phonology. PhD dissertation, MIT.
Saltzman, Elliot & Munhall, Kevin G. (1989). A dynamical approach to gestural patterning in speech production. Ecological Psychology 1. 333382.
Scobbie, James M. & Pouplier, Marianne (2010). The role of syllable structure in external sandhi: an EPG study of vocalisation and retraction in word-final English /l/. JPh 38. 240259.
Smith, Caitlin (2016). Morphological consonant mutation as gestural affixation. CLS 50. 411426.
Smith, Caitlin (2018). Harmony in Gestural Phonology. PhD dissertation, University of Southern California. Available at https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/004180.
Smith, Caitlin & Blaylock, Reed (2017). Deriving exceptional phonological patterns from contrastive gestural strength. Poster presented at the Dynamic Modeling in Phonetics and Phonology Workshop at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Available (May 2019) at https://pages.jh.edu/~csmit372/pdf/smithblaylock_cls53_poster.pdf.
Sproat, Richard & Fujimura, Osamu (1993). Allophonic variation in English /l/ and its implications for phonetic implementation. JPh 21. 291311.
Tejada, Laura (2012). Tone gestures and constraint interaction in Sierra Juárez Zapotec. PhD dissertation, University of Southern California.
Uffmann, Christian (2007). Intrusive [r] and optimal epenthetic consonants. Language Sciences 29. 451476.
Walker, Rachel (2017). Temporal structure in phonology. Paper presented at MIT. Available (May 2019) at https://dornsife.usc.edu/assets/sites/1208/docs/Walker_MITColloq_Handout_2017.pdf.
Walker, Rachel & Proctor, Michael (2013). Articulatory overlap in English syllables with postvocalic /ɹ/. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics 19. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4799574.
Weide, Robert L. (1994). Carnegie Mellon University pronouncing dictionary. http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/cgi-bin/cmudict.
Wells, John C. (1982). The accents of English. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wells, John C. (2008). Longman pronunciation dictionary. 3rd edn. Harlow: Pearson.
Westbury, John R., Hashi, Michiko & Lindstrom, Mary J. (1998). Differences among speakers in lingual articulation for American English /ɹ/. Speech Communication 26. 203226.
Zawadzki, Paul A. & Kuehn, David P. (1980). A cineradiographic study of static and dynamic aspects of American English /r/. Phonetica 37. 253266.
Zec, Draga (1995). Sonority constraints on syllable structure. Phonology 12. 85129.
Zhou, Xinhui, Espy-Wilson, Carol Y., Boyce, Suzanne, Tiede, Mark, Holland, Christy & Choe, Ann (2008). A magnetic resonance imaging-based articulatory and acoustic study of ‘retroflex’ and ‘bunched’ American English /r/. JASA 123. 44664481.
Zsiga, Elizabeth C. (1997). Features, gestures, and Igbo vowels: an approach to the phonology–phonetics interface. Lg 73. 227274.

The organisation and structure of rhotics in American English rhymes

  • Rachel Walker (a1) and Michael Proctor (a2)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed