The phonetic variation of short intervocalic /h/ in Estonian

Pire Teras


The present paper aims to take a closer look at the phonetic variation of short intervocalic /h/ in spontaneous Estonian. Disyllabic CVhV-words were extracted from the Phonetic Corpus of Estonian Spontaneous Speech. Visual inspection of spectrograms shows, that the most frequent variant of short intervocalic /h/ is the voiced variant (70% of the cases). In 21% of the cases, voicing has resulted in the loss of /h/, and consequently disyllabic words can be pronounced as monosyllabic CVV-words. In 3% of the cases, the loss of /h/ is accompanied by vowel shortening whereas /h/ is pronounced as voiceless in 6% of the cases. Some potential factors conditioning variation are discussed in the paper. The percentage of voiced variant increases in accented words, in formal situation and it is favoured by female speakers. Loss of /h/ occurs most frequently in deaccented words, and in informal situation, but in the case of male speakers it also occurs in the formal situation. Loss of /h/ accompanied by vowel shortening occurs only in deaccented words in informal situation. The voiceless variant occurs more often in formal situation, and in accented words pronounced in isolation.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-178

Cite as: Teras, P. (2018) The phonetic variation of short intervocalic /h/ in Estonian. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 883-887, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-178.


@inproceedings{Teras2018,
  author={Pire Teras},
  title={The phonetic variation of short intervocalic /h/ in Estonian},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={883--887},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-178},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-178}
}