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Academic Paper


Title: Articulatory mapping of Yoruba vowels: an ultrasound study
Author: Blake Allen
Institution: University of British Columbia
Author: Douglas Pulleyblank
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.arts.ubc.ca/ling/pblk/
Institution: University of British Columbia
Author: Ọládiípọ̀ Ajíbóyè
Institution: University of Lagos
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: Yoruba
Abstract: This paper examines the articulation of harmonically distinct classes of vowels in Standard Yoruba. There has been considerable disagreement as to whether the distinction between [e o] and [∊ ɔ] is one of vowel height or tongue-root advancement/retraction. This paper reports on an ultrasound investigation of Yoruba vowels. Results are consistent with harmonic classes distinguished by a tongue-root advancement/retraction feature, not by vowel height. We also investigate the relation between articulations of the tongue root and its neutral position between utterances, the (ISP). We find more variability in ISP-to-articulation mapping than previous studies, but our results are still partially compatible with a postulated correlation between phonologically ‘active’ feature values and articulatory displacement from ISP. Overall, our results support an analysis of Yoruba vowels in terms of a tongue-root feature, and provide insight into the mapping between phonetics and phonology.

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This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 30, Issue 2.

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