Linguistik-Klassifikation: Phonetik/Phonologie / Phonetics/Phonology
The violability of backness in retroflex consonants
- This paper addresses remarks made by Flemming (2003) to the effect that his analysis of the interaction between retroflexion and vowel backness is superior to that of Hamann (2003b). While Hamann maintained that retroflex articulations are always back, Flemming adduces phonological as well as phonetic evidence to prove that retroflex consonants can be non-back and even front (i.e. palatalised). The present paper, however, shows that the phonetic evidence fails under closer scrutiny. A closer consideration of the phonological evidence shows, by making a principled distinction between articulatory and perceptual drives, that a reanalysis of Flemming’s data in terms of unviolated retroflex backness is not only possible but also simpler with respect to the number of language-specific stipulations.