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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Contacting Plosives Across Morpheme Boundaries

Simone Mikuteit

University of Konstanz, Germany

We investigated the assimilation patterns of voiced and voiceless plosives across morpheme boundaries in German in read speech. The prefixes ab- and mit- were combined with verb_inf beginning with /d, t, b, p/. Prefixes usually initiate strong boundaries in German prohibiting for instance, resyllabification across the boundary: mit-arbeiten does not produce a medial [ta] syllable. The results of the production experiment suggest that there is no place assimilation between the morphemes but there is regressive assimilation of voice for homorganic consonants leading to geminates - at least insofar as closure duration is concerned. Testing the pure phonetic perception (with nonwords) we found an asymmetry: the voiceless geminates [p:] and [t:] were identified unambiguously as [p] or [t] (i.e. correct for place and voice), but the voiced ones - especially the labials - were perceived as voiced and voiceless, i.e. [b/p]. The voiced coronals showed much less of such an ambiguity. F0 seems to play a major role for the recognition of voice if the relation between closure duration and VOT is ambiguous.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Mikuteit, Simone (2003): "Contacting plosives across morpheme boundaries", In ICPhS-15, 3005-3008.