VCV Coarticulation in Arabic
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Department of Linguistics
Citation:Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 38 (1990), 88-104.
Vowel-to-vowel coarticulation in VCV utterances has been the subject of several studies. Öhman (1966) found that vowels in VCV utterances in English and Swedish have trans-consonantal effects on one another. He also found some evidence suggesting that secondary articulation features like palatalization in Russian block coarticulation. Action theorists, such as Fowler (1983), explain V-to-V coarticulation in terms of universal principles of speech timing; that is, they claim that vowels in speech production are underlyingly overlapping and consonants ride on top of the vowels. This suggestion implies that intervocalic consonants, regardless of whether they have secondary articulation features, do not block coarticulation. Keating (1985), on the other hand, explains it in terms of autosegmental phonology. She places the features for vowels and consonants on two separate tiers, and leaves consonant features unspecified for vowel features, so that V-to-V coarticulation is an interpolation between vowel targets. Keating's model implies that consonants that have secondary articulation (i.e. vowel features) must block coarticulation. 72 VCV utterances which include combinations of all vowels in Standard Arabic and a set of four pharyngealized consonants and their nonpharyngealized counterparts have been acoustically analyzed to assess the validity of the two models. The final analysis of the data indicates that V-to-V coarticulation is not as simple as either of the two models claims it to be. Several other factors such as the identity of the vowel included in the sequence, the speaker, and the direction of coarticulation (anticipatory versus carryover) have proven to be crucially important in accounting for V-to-V coarticulation.