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

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

An Instrumental Study of Alveolar io Velar Assimilation in Careful and Fast Speech

Lucy Ellis, William J. Hardcastle

Department of Speech and Language Sciences, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK

The assimilation of a word-final alveolar to a following velar has been traditionally described as a discrete phonological process. That is, the place of articulation features for the alveolar have been completely swapped for those of the velar. More recently electropalatographic (EPG) studies have shown empirically that this process is sometimes gradual, providing evidence of intermediate ‘residual’ alveolar articulations. These conflicting perspectives raise the question: at what level in the generation and execution of an utterance does assimilation occur? A number of speakers' productions of /n#k/ were recorded using EPG. The major finding is that while some subjects produce gradient assimilations, others clearly demonstrate categorical assimilations. The lack of residual movement in the latter group was confirmed in a pilot study using EPG in combination with EMA (electromagnetic articulography), a technique which complements EPG contact-only data. On the basis of this, a speaker-specific model of assimilatory behaviour is proposed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ellis, Lucy / Hardcastle, William J. (1999): "An instrumental study of alveolar io velar assimilation in careful and fast speech", In ICPhS-14, 2425-2428.