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

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

Phonetic Motivation for Consonant Gemination: Evidence from Greek, Romance, and Germanic

Jeannette Marshall Denton

The University of Chicago, IL, USA

In the history of Greek, Romance and Germanic, certain consonant geminations were conditioned by immediatel following glides and/or liquids. Despite phonological and prosodic differences across the three languages, this common conditioning of consonant gemination suggests that some property of these resonants causes strengthening of preceding consonants. This paper reports on an acoustic analysis of the English intervocalic and pre-resonant word-internal consonants of three speakers and reveals that resonants and high vowels have a lengthening effect on the VOT of stops and on constriction durations of nasals and liquids. These findings demonstrate that the geminations in Greek, Proto-Romance and Germanic may have been phonetically motivated fortitions.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Denton, Jeannette Marshall (1999): "Phonetic motivation for consonant gemination: evidence from Greek, Romance, and Germanic", In ICPhS-14, 325-328.