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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Acoustics of Contrastive Palatal Affricates Predict Phonological Patterning

Amanda Miller-Ockhuizen, Draga Zec

Cornell University, USA

Serbian contains two classes of contrastive palatal affricates exemplified in ćar [tŝar] 'gain' vs. čar [tʃar] 'magic'. In the phonological process of iotization, [t] patterns with [ts], and [k] patterns with [tʃ]. Articulatorily, ć [tŝ] is laminal, more front with compressed lips, while č [tʃ] is apical, more back with protruded lips. Acoustically, two resonance frequency peaks in the frication noise distinguish the affricates. [tʃ]/[k] display lower frequency energy than [t]/[tŝ]. Different frequency ranges in the spectra of frication noise vs. stop bursts derive from constriction degree. We adopt a two-level model of the phonetics-phonology interface [1]. Phonetic differences in several articulator variables in the input contribute to cavity volume differences in the output, and define the natural classes observed in iotization. We propose a binary phonological feature, increased vs. decreased [front cavity volume], which allows a natural statement of iotization.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Miller-Ockhuizen, Amanda / Zec, Draga (2003): "Acoustics of contrastive palatal affricates predict phonological patterning", In ICPhS-15, 3101-3104.