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Cues to perception of reduced flaps.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
1520-8524
Publication Date
Volume
125
Issue
5
Pages
3317–3327
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1121/1.3097773
PMID: 19425673
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Natural, spontaneous speech (and even quite careful speech) often shows extreme reduction in many speech segments, even resulting in apparent deletion of consonants. Where the flap ([inverted J]) allophone of /t/ and /d/ is expected in American English, one frequently sees an approximant-like or even vocalic pattern, rather than a clear flap. Still, the /t/ or /d/ is usually perceived, suggesting the acoustic characteristics of a reduced flap are sufficient for perception of a consonant. This paper identifies several acoustic characteristics of reduced flaps based on previous acoustic research (size of intensity dip, consonant duration, and F4 valley) and presents phonetic identification data for continua that manipulate these acoustic characteristics of reduction. The results indicate that the most obvious types of acoustic variability seen in natural flaps do affect listeners' percept of a consonant, but not sufficiently to completely account for the percept. Listeners are affected by the acoustic characteristics of consonant reduction, but they are also very skilled at evaluating variability along the acoustic dimensions that realize reduction.

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