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Academic Paper

Title: Contrastive breathiness across consonants and vowels: A comparative study of Gujarati and White Hmong
Author: Christina M. Esposito
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Author: Sameer ud Dowla Khan
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Reed College
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: Gujarati
Hmong Daw
Abstract: Gujarati and White Hmong are among a small handful of languages known to maintain a phonemic contrast between breathy and modal voice across both obstruents and vowels. Given that breathiness on stop consonants is realized as a breathy-voiced aspirated release into the following vowel, how is consonant breathiness distinguished from vocalic breathiness, if at all? We examine acoustic and electroglottographic data of potentially ambiguous CV sequences collected from speakers of Gujarati and White Hmong, to determine what properties reliably distinguish breathiness associated with stop consonants from breathiness associated with vowels comparing both within and across these two unrelated languages. Results from the two languages are strikingly similar: only the early timing and increased magnitude of the various acoustic reflexes of breathiness phonetically distinguish phonemic consonantal breathiness from phonemic vocalic breathiness.


This article appears IN Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 42, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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