Phonologically prestopped nasals occur primarily in central and southern Australian languages. Phonetically prestopped nasals on the other hand, occur in a large number of Australian languages and are not isolated to one particular region. Phonetically prestopped nasals have been analysed as a preservation of spectral characteristics at vowel-sonorant boundaries in languages which have a comparatively large number of sonorant contrasts. In this paper we describe acoustic, articulatory and durational characteristics of rarely mentioned phonetically prestopped laterals, in the Australian language Warlpiri. We conclude that like prestopped nasals, prestopped laterals are likely to be the outcome of a coarticulatory avoidance strategy to preserve the left-edge of the sonorant. While not auditorily salient, we report on the frequent distribution and very distinctive phonetic characteristics associated with prestopped laterals.
Bibliographic reference. Loakes, Deborah / Butcher, Andrew / Fletcher, Janet / Stoakes, Hywel (2008): "Phonetically prestopped laterals in Australian languages: a preliminary investigation of Warlpiri", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 90-93.