14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Abstractness in Phonology and Extrinsic Phonetic Interpretation: The Case of Liquids in English

Paul Carter

Department of Language & Linguistic Science, University of York, York, UK

This paper proposes constraints on the phonetic interpretation of liquids in English. Resonance categories usually associated with laterals are shown to be associated also with rhotics. It is shown that the implementation of clear/dark alternations in liquids is not only structure dependent but also dialect-specific.
   Data were collected from a representative selection of British varieties of English. A distinction is drawn between absolute clearness or darkness of liquids within any given variety and the relationships of clearness and darkness each liquid enters into in its phonological system. Distinct patterns were found for rhotic versus non-rhotic varieties, reflecting differing systems of contrast.
   Questions are raised regarding phasing of gestures in different varieties of English. A gestural model relies on intrinsic interpretation of phonological units with reference to limited structural information; the data presented here support the need for structural information but challenge the validity of intrinsic interpretation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Carter, Paul (1999): "Abstractness in phonology and extrinsic phonetic interpretation: the case of liquids in English", In ICPhS-14, 105-108.