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

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

Casual Speech: A Rich Source of Intriguing Puzzles

Sharon Y. Manuel (1), Gretchen C. Wyrick (2)

(1) Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
(2) Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

Casual speech phenomena can pose striking challenges to our understanding of speech production, articulatory-to-acoustic mapping, speech perception, and indeed the nature of abstract underlying representations and phonological processes. We focus here on cases of /ð/ which have been assimilated, at least in part, to a preceding /l/ in utterances like steal those. Acoustic analysis shows that the /ð/ may become sonorant and lateral, but that it still retains its dental place of articulation. Perception data indicate that when this type of /ð/ is heard without the original source of the sonorant and lateral features, listeners hear /ð/ as /l/, whereas in context they hear it as /ð/. Such powerful perceptual recovery processes suggests that this and other examples of assimilation - examples relevant to the phonetic and phonological sciences - will only be discovered by careful attention to the acoustic consequences of assimilation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Manuel, Sharon Y. / Wyrick, Gretchen C. (1999): "Casual speech: a rich source of intriguing puzzles", In ICPhS-14, 679-682.