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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Phonetic vs. Phonological Control of Speech: Closed Syllable Vowel Shortening in Japanese Dialects

Haruo Kubozono (1), Francis Michinao Matsui (2)

(1) Kobe University, Japan
(2) Kobe Shoin Women's University, Japan

This paper discusses the relationship between phonetic and phonological control of speech by comparing the temporal patterns in two types of Japanese dialects: the mora-based phonological system of Standard Tokyo Japanese and the syllable-based system of Kagoshima Japanese. An acoustic study of Kagoshima Japanese reveals that mora-timing is not observed in this dialect. However, this dialect does not exhibit an effect of closed syllable vowel shortening either, which is observed in Korean and other so-called syllable languages. What is observed instead is vowel shortening in the syllable following a closed syllable: vowels following a closed syllable are noticeably shorter than those following an open syllable. Because of this vowel shortening, Kagoshima Japanese exhibits a tendency towards syllable-timing rather than mora-timing.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kubozono, Haruo / Matsui, Francis Michinao (2003): "Phonetic vs. phonological control of speech: closed syllable vowel shortening in Japanese dialects", In ICPhS-15, 2425-2428.