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Academic Paper


Title: Empirical evidence for laryngeal features: Aspirating vs. true voice languages
Author: Jill N. Beckman
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.uiowa.edu/~linguist/faculty/beckman/
Institution: University of Iowa
Author: Michael Jessen
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Kriminaltechnisches Institut des Bundeskriminalamtes Wiesbaden
Author: Catherine Ringen
Institution: University of Iowa
Linguistic Field: Phonetics
Abstract: It is well known that German utterance-initial lenis stops are voiceless but that German intervocalic (or intersonorant) lenis stops are sometimes produced with voicing. This variable voicing can be understood as , voicing that results because of the voiced context, rather than from gestures by speakers. Thus, speakers are not actively aiming to voice intervocalic stops, just as they are not actively aiming to voice utterance-initial stops (Jessen & Ringen , Jessen ). If this is correct, the variable voicing that occurs in aspirating languages should be different from the voicing that occurs in true voice languages (such as Russian), in which speakers are actively aiming to voice both initial and intervocalic lenis stops. Since there is little data on the relative amount of intervocalic voicing in true voice languages, however, it has been difficult to evaluate this prediction. The purpose of this paper is to compare data on the voicing of intervocalic stops in German and English with data on the voicing of intervocalic stops in true voice languages. We find that the differences are substantial, supporting the claim that aspirating languages are not like true voice languages, in which the feature of contrast is [voice].

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This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 49, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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