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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

The Psychological Reality of Ambisyllabic Consonants in Danish

Nicolai Pharao

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether or to what degree Danish speakers may treat single intervocalic consonants as ambisyllabic. To this end two experiments were conducted: 1) a syllable insertion task, and 2) a pause-break task. The following factors were hypothesized to influence speaker performance: the degree of stress on the preceding vowel, the quantity of the preceding vowel, the quality of the following vowel, and spelling of the consonant. The results of the syllable insertion task show that the tendency for the consonant to be ambisyllabic increased significantly if the singleton was spelled with two letters. The results from the pause-break task confirm this finding. Interestingly, however, a dependency on the phonetic class of the consonant also emerged. The decisive factor seems to be whether the consonant is a stop or a continuant, and not, as is often assumed, its sonority.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Pharao, Nicolai (2003): "The psychological reality of ambisyllabic consonants in Danish", In ICPhS-15, 1181-1184.