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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Articulatory Motivation of Velar Softening

Daniel Recasens (1), Aina Espinosa (2)

(1) Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
(2) Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Spain

The present paper presents some evidence in support of the notion that velar softening, i.e., the change of front velars into palatal or alveolar affricates, may have an articulatory basis. Electropalatographic data for Majorcan Catalan show that the voiceless palatal stop [c] (an allophone of /k/ in this Catalan dialect) may exhibit a postpalatal, mediopalatal and/or alveolopalatal closure depending on speaker, position and vowel context. Burst spectra reveal that the front-cavity dependent peak for these articulatory realizations increases gradually from about 2500 Hz to 3000-3500 Hz as closure location becomes fronter along the postpalate and mediopalate, and stays at that frequency range with variations in closure location along the prepalatal and alveolar zone. In contrast with recent claims in the literature, these data suggest that velar softening may be associated with alveolopalatal realizations of a front velar stop and thus, not necessarily with the spectral characteristics of a front velar stop burst.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Recasens, Daniel / Espinosa, Aina (2003): "Articulatory motivation of velar softening", In ICPhS-15, 1903-1906.