From: Spyros Armosti <armostiscantab.net>
Subject: The Phonetics of Plosive and Affricate Gemination in Cypriot Greek
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Institution: Cambridge University
Program: PhD in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011
Author: Spyros Armosti
Dissertation Title: The Phonetics of Plosive and Affricate Gemination in Cypriot Greek
Subject Language(s): Greek (ell)
Francis J. Nolan
The aim of this dissertation is to contribute as much as possible to the
limited knowledge about the phonetics and phonology of Cypriot Greek (CyGr)
geminates by examining the acoustics, articulation, and perception of CyGr
plosive and affricate gemination. CyGr plosives and affricates were
selected in particular, because their gemination is realised rather
unusually, i.e. by means of both the closure and release. The investigation
of CyGr stop and affricate gemination has also theoretical implications,
such as which theoretical framework (moraic or timing-based theory) would
best accommodate CyGr geminates, how CyGr geminates should be syllabified,
the moraicity of geminates and its phonetic implementation, the existence
of moraic onsets, and the correlation between gemination and aspiration.
The first chapter of the thesis introduces CyGr providing a brief
description of its phonetic inventory with a focus on geminates. It also
presents previous work on CyGr and in particular on gemination, identifying
the limited knowledge about the phonetics and phonology of CyGr gemination.
Chapter 2 comprises an acoustic study of lexical and post-lexical
gemination of CyGr stops and affricates, discussing the acoustic correlates
of CyGr gemination, the timing of geminates at the supra-segmental level,
and the phonological representation of CyGr geminates. This study concluded
that there is indeed an acoustic contrast between singleton and geminate
stops and affricates, a contrast that is enhanced by aspiration; it also
suggested that CyGr geminates are best represented as moraic segments,
rather than occupying two time slots.
Chapter 3 is a limited articulatory study of lexical alveolar stops, which
supplemented the evidence from Chapter 2. In particular it showed that the
singleton~geminate contrast is articulatorily maintained even in
utterance-initial position, where the stop closure is unperceivable. This
finding held only for unstressed segments though; stress and position in
the utterance were shown to influence the strength of stops, something that
resulted in articulatory neutralisation in utterance-initial stressed position.
Chapter 4 reports the results of a perceptual study on lexical alveolar
stops, aiming to identify the cues that play a role in the perception of
geminates by speakers of CyGr. The results of the study showed that at a
purely durational level, closure duration (CD) was a more important cue to
gemination than aspiration; however, when non-temporal features of
aspiration were considered, aspiration became a marginally more important
cue than CD.
Chapter 5 presents the second perceptual experiment of the thesis, which
tests if and how speakers of CyGr differentiate perceptually between
word-initial singleton, word-initial geminate, word-boundary geminate, and
word-boundary super-geminate stops.
Chapter 6 consists of four perceptual experiments, each one testing the
perception of stimuli from six languages (namely CyGr, Turkish, Italian,
Polish, English, and Korean) by native speakers of one of four languages:
CyGr, Cypriot Turkish, Polish, and Italian. This investigation highlighted
the differences among the four languages regarding the way their listeners
perceive stop and affricate gemination; moreover, it explored the
correspondences between CyGr and foreign geminates (and/or aspirates) in
loanword perception and adaptation into CyGr.
Finally, Chapter 7 discusses the phonological and phonetic status of CyGr
geminate stops and affricates and suggests theoretical implications of the
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