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

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

Strength Matters?

Ian Maddieson

University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Linguistic decriptions refer to the ‘strength of articulation’ or ‘articulatory force’ of consonants. However, the status of this opposition is unclear. Minimally distinct phonological segments differ along many physical dimensions, which may all have some role in marking their identity. Hence, a theoretical basis for distinguishing essential and contingent differences is required. One principle proposed i s ‘subordination’. A difference in ‘strength’ between minimally different consonants is generally subordinated to a contrast of voicing or gemination. But some Dagestanian languages may provide the evidence that strength is not always a subordinate segmental property or a prosodic/pragmatic feature. Audio, aerodynamic and palatographic data on Bagwala and more limited audio and palatographic data on Dargi and Archi has been collected and examined. In the fricatives the phonetic realization of the ‘strength’ distinction includes variation of constriction degree while remaining within the limits of the critical range for friction; durational differences are small.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Maddieson, Ian (1999): "Strength matters?", In ICPhS-14, 1965-1968.