Prosodic conditioning of phonetic detail of German plosives

Kuzla, C., & Ernestus, M. (2007). Prosodic conditioning of phonetic detail of German plosives. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 461-464). Dudweiler: Pirrot.
The present study investigates the influence of prosodic structure on the fine-grained phonetic details of German plosives which also cue the phonological fortis-lenis contrast. Closure durations were found to be longer at higher prosodic boundaries. There was also less glottal vibration in lenis plosives at higher prosodic boundaries. Voice onset time in lenis plosives was not affected by prosody. In contrast, for the fortis plosives VOT decreased at higher boundaries, as did the maximal intensity of the release. These results demonstrate that the effects of prosody on different phonetic cues can go into opposite directions, but are overall constrained by the need to maintain phonological contrasts. While prosodic effects on some cues are compatible with a ‘fortition’ account of prosodic strengthening or with a general feature enhancement explanation, the effects on others enhance paradigmatic contrasts only within a given prosodic position.
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