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

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

Patterns of Linguopalatal Contact during Japanese Vowel Devoicing

Shuri Kumagai

Department of Linguistic Science, University of Reading, UK

It is claimed that close vowels in Japanese are devoiced when they occur between voiceless consonants. In this paper, voiceless vowels are represented symbolically as [V-] and voiced vowels as [V+]. The articulatory gestures during C[V-]C units and the corresponding C[V+]C units are examined using electropalatography (EPG). Our results shows that a devoiced vowel is generally produced by creating a greater degree of linguopalatal contact at the front part of the palate than a voiced vowel. However, it is also observed that when the patterns of linguopalatal contact are similar, the duration of a devoiced vowel is longer than a voiced cognate. This study suggests that a turbulent noise during a devoiced vowel results from either creating a greater degree of tongue-palate contact, or increasing the duration of the inter-consonantal noise. This kind of linguopalatal contact seems to results from speakers subconscious use of aerodynamic effects.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kumagai, Shuri (1999): "Patterns of linguopalatal contact during Japanese vowel devoicing", In ICPhS-14, 375-378.