An articulatory study of the features ATR in Akan and emphasis in Arabic
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Publisher:Ohio State University. Department of Linguistics
Citation:Working Papers in Linguistics, no. 43 (1994), 85-96.
Akan contrasts two sets of vowels, one in which the tongue root is advanced and the larynx lowered ([+ATR]), and another in which the tongue root is retracted ([-ATR]) (Lindau, 1979). Arabic contrasts two sets of consonants, one in which the pharynx is constricted ([+emphasis]) and another in which it is not ([-emphasis]). Lindau suggests that the two phenomena can be combined as various settings along a single phonetic dimension of pharynx width, with [+ATR] as maximally expanded and [+emphasis] as maximally constricted, and that this dimension can be reduced to the binary phonological feature [±expanded], since no language contrasts more than two settings. This paper tests this hypothesis. Measurements of pharyngeal diameter were taken from X-ray tracings from productions by two Arabic speakers and three Akan speakers, and a multivariate analysis of variance was performed. Although emphasis is primarily a consonant feature in Arabic, it is legitimate to compare vowels in this cross-linguistic study, because as noted by Card (1983), [+emphasis] spreads to vowels and consonants within the same word. The results showed significant interaction between the more and less expanded feature values and the two languages, implying that emphasis in Arabic is controlled by a different mechanism from that used for [±ATR] in Akan.