This study examines the contrast between (alveo-)palatal stop bursts and velar stop bursts (/c/ vs. /k/), with particular focus on how the contrast between the two is enhanced in Word-initial vs. Word-medial position. Data are presented from nine speakers of Pitjantjatjara, a language of Central Australia. Analyses show that although there are formant differences between palatal and velar stop bursts, the formant contrast is not enhanced in Word-initial position, with the exception of a lower F3 for /k/ preceding the vowel /a/. By contrast, spectral tilt and the 3rd spectral moment (skewness) are particularly effective at enhancing the contrast between /c/ and /k/ preceding the vowels /a/ and /i/ (with /c/ having less steep tilt values and lower skewness values than /k/); and the 4th spectral moment (kurtosis) is particularly effective at enhancing the same contrast preceding the vowel /u/ (with /c/ having higher kurtosis values than /k/). These results suggest that Word-initial position in this language is marked not only by pitch movement and extra duration, but also by spectral properties of the stop burst.
Bibliographic reference. Tabain, Marija / Beare, Richard / Butcher, Andrew (2013): "A preliminary spectral analysis of palatal and velar stop bursts in pitjantjatjara", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 291-295.