15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)
Swiss German dialects have contrastive singleton and geminate voiceless stop consonants in all word positions. This contrast is acoustically manifested in short and long closure duration, which constitutes the primary cue. Within words as well as within phrases, intersonorant contexts facilitate the perception of the contrast while obstruent contexts neutralize the contrast. Crucially, in phrase-initial position listeners cannot recover the contrast either. In this study we present articulatory evidence that phrase-initial geminates are nonetheless produced with significantly longer closure duration than singletons. Thus, the phrase-initial imperceptibility is not due to the primary cue, i.e. closure duration, not being produced. It results from the primary cue not being implementable because the starting point of the closure is not discernable.
Bibliographic reference. Kraehenmann, Astrid / Jaeger, Marion (2003): "Phrase-initial geminate stops: articulatory evidence for phonological representation", In ICPhS-15, 2725-2728.