- Why are voiced affricates avoided cross-linguistically? : evidence from an aerodynamic study (2008)
- This paper shows that several typologically unrelated languages share the tendency to avoid voiced sibilant affricates. This tendency is explained by appealing to the phonetic properties of the sounds, and in particular to their aerodynamic characteristics. On the basis of experimental evidence it is shown that conflicting air pressure requirements for maintaining voicing and frication are responsible for the avoidance of voiced affricates. In particular, the air pressure released from the stop phase of the affricate is too high to maintain voicing, which in consequence leads to a devoicing of the frication part.
- Temporal development of compensation strategies for perturbed palate shape in German /S/-production (2006)
- The palate shape of four speakers was changed by a prosthesis which either lowered the palate or retracted the alveoles. Subjects wore the prosthesis for two weeks and were recorded several times via EMA. Results of articulatory measurements show that speakers use different compensation methods at different stages of the adaptation. They lower the tongue immediately after the insertion of the prosthesis. Other compensation methods as for example lip protrusion are only acquired after longer practising periods. The results are interpreted as supporting the existence of different mappings between motor commands, vocal tract shape and auditory-acoustic target.
- How do voiced retroflex stops evolve? Evidence from typology and an articulatory study (2008)
- The present article illustrates that the specific articulatory and aerodynamic requirements for voiced but not voiceless alveolar or dental stops can cause tongue tip retraction and tongue mid lowering and thus retroflexion of front coronals. This retroflexion is shown to have occurred diachronically in the three typologically unrelated languages Dhao (Malayo-Polynesian), Thulung (Sino-Tibetan), and Afar (East-Cushitic). In addition to the diachronic cases, we provide synchronic data for retroflexion from an articulatory study with four speakers of German, a language usually described as having alveolar stops. With these combined data we supply evidence that voiced retroflex stops (as the only retroflex segments in a language) did not necessarily emerge from implosives, as argued by Haudricourt (1950), Greenberg (1970), Bhat (1973), and Ohala (1983). Instead, we propose that the voiced front coronal plosive /d/ is generally articulated in a way that favours retroflexion, that is, with a smaller and more retracted place of articulation and a lower tongue and jaw position than /t/.
- The influence of the palate shape on articulatory token-to-token variability (2005)
- Articulatory token-to-token variability not only depends on linguistic aspects like the phoneme inventory of a given language but also on speaker specific morphological and motor constraints. As has been noted previously (Perkell (1997), Mooshammer et al. (2004)) , speakers with coronally high ”domeshaped” palates exhibit more articulatory variability than speakers with coronally low ”flat” palates. One explanation for that is based on perception oriented control by the speaker. The influence of articulatory variation on the cross sectional area and consequently on the acoustics should be greater for flat palates than for domeshaped ones. This should force speakers with flat palates to place their tongue very precisely whereas speakers with domeshaped palates might tolerate a greater variability. A second explanation could be a greater amount of lateral linguo-palatal contact for flat palates holding the tongue in position. In this study both hypotheses were tested.