10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

High Front Vowels in Czech: A Contrast in Quantity or Quality?

Václav Jonáš Podlipský (1), Radek Skarnitzl (2), Jan Volín (2)

(1) Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic
(2) Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

We investigate the perception and production of Czech /I/ and /i:/, a contrast traditionally described as quantitative. First, we show that the spectral difference between the vowels is for many Czechs as strong a cue as (or even stronger than) duration. Second, we test the hypothesis that this shift towards vowel quality as a perceptual cue for this contrast resulted in weakening of the durational differentiation in production. Our measurements confirm this: members of the /I/-/i:/ pair differed in duration much less than those of other short-long pairs. We interpret these findings in terms of Lindblom's H&H theory.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Podlipský, Václav Jonáš / Skarnitzl, Radek / Volín, Jan (2009): "High front vowels in Czech: a contrast in quantity or quality?", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 132-135.