9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Phonetically Prestopped Laterals in Australian Languages: A Preliminary Investigation of Warlpiri

Deborah Loakes (1), Andrew Butcher (2), Janet Fletcher (1), Hywel Stoakes (1)

(1) University of Melbourne, Australia; (2) Flinders University, Australia

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.

Full Paper

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.