12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Florence, Italy
August 27-31. 2011

Age-Dependent Differences in the Neutralization of the Intervocalic Voicing Contrast: Evidence from an Apparent-Time Study on East Franconian

Viola Müller, Jonathan Harrington, Felicitas Kleber, Ulrich Reubold

LMU München, Germany

The main aim of the present study was to investigate the extent to which East Franconian speakers neutralize the voicing opposition in intervocalic stops when they produce a variety of Standard German. A second aim was to test whether young and old speakers differ in their extent of neutralization and tend to a more standard-like pronunciation. We analyzed contrast maintenance by means of the vowel-to-stop duration ratio. An acoustic analysis of leiden-leiten revealed that old East Franconian speakers neutralized the voicing contrast either completely or to a greater extent than young East Franconian speakers. Young East Franconian speakers preserved the voicing contrast, although to a lesser extent than the Standard German speakers. A forced choice perception experiment showed that young but not old East Franconians perceived the lenis/fortis contrast. The results point to a sound change in progress in which a phonemic [± voice] stop distinction is developing in East Franconian.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Müller, Viola / Harrington, Jonathan / Kleber, Felicitas / Reubold, Ulrich (2011): "Age-dependent differences in the neutralization of the intervocalic voicing contrast: evidence from an apparent-time study on east franconian", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 633-636.