14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)
San Francisco, CA, USA
The "dialects" of Berber differ in whether they have been affected by a historical process of spirantization of singleton plosives, changing, for example, /t/ into /ϴ/. It might be expected that the spirantizing dialects will shorten their remaining stops (the original geminates) when there is no longer a singleton/ geminate contrast to maintain. Acoustic closure duration of stops was measured for 8 speakers, 4 of non-spirantizing dialects, 3 of spirantizing dialects, and 1 of an assibilating dialect. The historical geminate stops are long for all speakers regardless of dialect, having about twice the duration of singleton stops. This suggests it is not inappropriate to describe them phonetically as geminates for both groups.
Bibliographic reference. Louali, Naima / Maddieson, Ian (1999): "Phonological contrast and phonetic realization: the case of Berber stops", In ICPhS-14, 603-606.