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Séminaire du département Parole et Cognition du 22/11/2018 à 14h00


The effect of context and syllable position on the production of heterosyllabic consonant clusters

Intervenant : Daniel Recasens, Univ Barcelona

Lieu : B314 -Département Parole et Cognition - Batiment Ampère, GIPSA-Lab


Résumé :


During the last two years we have carried out research on lingual configuration for Catalan heterosyllabic consonant clusters (Recasens & Rodríguez, 2018, submitted) in order to elicit whether consonants: (a) exhibit a similar coarticulatory resistance hierarchy in consonant clusters than in VCV sequences, (b) are more reduced and coarticulation sensitive, and also less prominent articulatorily, syllable finally than syllable initially. In order to investigate these issues, lingual configuration data were collected with ultrasound for 50 heterosyllabic C#C clusters with the consonants /p, t, n, l, s, r, ɲ, k/. Clusters were produced 4-6 times by five Catalan-speaking subjects in symmetrical sequences /aC#Ca/ and /iC#Ci/ embedded in real Catalan words.

Coarticulatory resistance for each consonant as a function of the contextual consonants in the clusters was evaluated by means of a CVar (coefficient of variation) measure applied to four tongue regions identified on the lingual splines. Results show a highly similar coarticulatory resistance hierarchy in all three sequence scenarios, i.e., VCV (Recasens & Rodríguez, 2016), /aC#Ca/ and /iC#Ci/, with labials, dentoalveolars and velars being more contextually variable than /s/, /r/ (which is realized as a apicoalveolar trill syllable initially in Catalan) and the alveolopalatal /ɲ/. Thus, this coarticulatory resistance hierarchy appears to be highly stable much independently of the degree of articulatory constraint imposed on the tongue, which was predicted to vary in the progression /iC#Ci/ > /aC#Ca/ > /VCV/.

As to the second research goal and in disagreement with our initial prediction, the lingual configuration for consonants turned out not to be more variable in coda vs onset position, but more variable or equally variable in onset than in coda depending on the target consonant. There was a highly complex scenario with regard to differences in overall tongue configuration as a function of syllable position. In some cases, these differences appeared to be associated with the expected trend for consonants to be more prominent in onset vs coda. In other cases, however, differences in tongue configuration between the syllable initial and final positions were more in line with the patterns of coarticulatory direction favoured by the adjacent consonant and/or the flanking vowels. The sequences composed of dorsal consonants /kɲ/ and /ɲk/ are a special case: there was blending at a single point for /kɲ/ and changes in closure location over time for /ɲk/ in the /aC#Ca/ sequences, and very little room for change in tongue position in the /iC#Ci/ sequences.

As to consonant duration, consonants were longer in syllable onset vs syllable coda except for the two nasals.

These articulatory and segmental duration data suggest the following:

- It does not make too much sense to evaluate consonantal variability in VC#CV sequences by excluding the vowel effects on consonants. More specifically, effects from /i/ overcome the C-to-C coarticulatory effects for the most part thus supporting the notion that the high front vowel is more constrained than /a/.

- Articulatory reduction for coda consonants does not need to involve shortening and undershoot in parallel.

- Consonants may be perceived as more reduced syllable finally than syllable initially due to the acoustic characteristics associated with differences in accuracy and amplitude between the VC jaw closing and CV jaw opening cycles rather than with differences in tongue configuration.


Recasens, D. & Rodríguez, C. (submitted) An ultrasound study of contextual and syllabic effects in

consonant sequences under heavy articulatory constraint conditions, Speech Communication.

Recasens, D. & Rodríguez, C. (2018) Contextual and syllabic effects in heterosyllabic consonant

sequences. An ultrasound study, Speech Communication, 96, 150-167.

Recasens, D. & Rodríguez, C. (2016) A study on coarticulatory resistance and aggressiveness for front

lingual consonants and vowels using ultrasound, Journal of Phonetics, 59, 58-75.

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