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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Domain of the Estonian Quantity Degrees: Evidence from Words Containing Diphthongs

Arvo Eek, Einar Meister

Tallinn Technical University, Estonia

The Estonian quantity degrees (Q) are phonological two-syllable prosodic units the distinct durational patterns of which are based on various combinations of duration ratios of foot-internal neighbouring phonemes. In order to test this definition, the durations of word types C1V1V2C2V3 (Q2) and C1V1V2:C2V3 (Q3) separated from a text read as a dialogue with three different speech rates were measured. The discrimination of the duration ratios of successive phonemes and their relevance for the identification of the quantity degrees were examined by perception tests. Listeners cannot determine by merely the durational relationships of the first syllable whether the syllable belongs either to one or the other word form (quantity degree), although they can discriminate whether the coda vowel is longer or shorter than the nucleus vowel.
   The duration ratios between the stressed syllable coda and nucleus, and the coda and the unstressed syllable nucleus are complementary cues for the perception of Qs.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Eek, Arvo / Meister, Einar (2003): "Domain of the Estonian quantity degrees: evidence from words containing diphthongs", In ICPhS-15, 2039-2042.