Phrase-medial vowel devoicing in spontaneous French

Torreira, F., & Ernestus, M. (2010). Phrase-medial vowel devoicing in spontaneous French. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2010), Makuhari, Japan (pp. 2006-2009).
This study investigates phrase-medial vowel devoicing in European French (e.g. /ty po/ [typo] 'you can'). Our spontaneous speech data confirm that French phrase-medial devoicing is a frequent phenomenon affecting high vowels preceded by voiceless consonants. We also found that devoicing is more frequent in temporally reduced and coarticulated vowels. Complete and partial devoicing were conditioned by the same variables (speech rate, consonant type and distance from the end of the AP). Given these results, we propose that phrase-medial vowel devoicing in French arises mainly from the temporal compression of vocalic gestures and the aerodynamic conditions imposed by high vowels.
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