An exploratory study of voicing-related differences in vowel duration as compensatory temporal adjustment in Italian and Polish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Over a century of phonetic research has established the cross-linguistic existence of the so called “voicing effect”, by which vowels tend to be shorter when followed by voiceless stops and longer when the following stop is voiced. However, no agreement is found among scholars regarding the source of this effect, and several causal accounts have been advanced. A notable one is the compensatory temporal adjustment account, according to which the duration of the vowel is inversely correlated with the stop closure duration (voiceless stops having longer closure durations than voiced stops). The compensatory account has been criticised due to lack of empirical support and its vagueness regarding the temporal interval within which compensation is implemented. The results from an exploratory study of Italian and Polish suggest that the duration of the interval between two consecutive stop releases in CVCV words in these languages is not affected by the voicing of the second stop. The durational difference of the first vowel and the stop closure would then follow from differences in timing of the VC boundary within this interval. While other aspects, like production mechanisms related to laryngeal features effects and perceptual biases cannot be ruled out, the data discussed here are compatible with a production account based on compensatory mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125
JournalGlossa: A Journal of General Linguistics
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • vowel duration
  • closure duration
  • voicing effect
  • compensation
  • Italian
  • Polish

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