15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


The Origins and Scope of Final Lowering in English and Greek

Amalia Arvaniti (1), Svetlana Godjevac (2)

(1) University of California at San Diego, USA
(2) San Diego State University, USA

Two experiments were designed to examine final lowering in English and Greek. In both, the number of unstressed syllables between the last two accents varied between two and three syllables (English), and two and four syllables (Greek). In English the final accent was one or three syllables from the end of the utterance; in Greek the distance was zero, one or two syllables. Final lowering was evident in both languages, while the extra syllables between the last two accents did not produce additional lowering, clearly showing that final lowering is independent of declination. In both languages the final accent was scaled lower when closer to the end of the utterance, though the effect was not consistent across speakers. This result suggests that final lowering is not phonologically controlled, but more research is necessary to draw a firm conclusion on this point.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Arvaniti, Amalia / Godjevac, Svetlana (2003): "The origins and scope of final lowering in English and Greek", In ICPhS-15, 1077-1080.