Articulatory Characteristics of Secondary Palatalization in Romanian Fricatives

Laura Spinu, Maida Percival, Alexei Kochetov


This study explores the articulatory characteristics of plain and palatalized fricatives in Romanian. Based on earlier acoustic findings, we hypothesize that there are differences in tongue raising and fronting depending on the primary place of articulation, with more subtle gestures produced in the vicinity of the palatal area. We also predict more individual variation in the realization of secondary palatalization in postalveolars, based on general cross-linguistic patterns.

Ten native speakers participated in an ultrasound experiment. The stimuli included real words containing labial, dental, and postalveolar fricatives. The fricatives at all three places were either plain or palatalized word-finally (the only position available for secondary palatalization in this language). Tongue contours at the consonant midpoint were compared using Smoothing Spline ANOVAs individually with radius distance from the ultrasound probe.

The findings indicate differences in tongue shape between plain and palatalized consonants, with stronger palatalization effects in labials compared to coronals, as well as in dentals compared to postalveolars. The latter also revealed higher individual variation. Our findings thus suggest that tongue configurations for secondary palatalization in Romanian differ by place of articulation. The contrast is also overall less robust in postalveolars, confirming previous reports and explaining its rarity cross-linguistically.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-3039

Cite as: Spinu, L., Percival, M., Kochetov, A. (2019) Articulatory Characteristics of Secondary Palatalization in Romanian Fricatives. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 3307-3311, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-3039.


@inproceedings{Spinu2019,
  author={Laura Spinu and Maida Percival and Alexei Kochetov},
  title={{Articulatory Characteristics of Secondary Palatalization in Romanian Fricatives}},
  year=2019,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},
  pages={3307--3311},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2019-3039},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2019-3039}
}