Register, tone, and consonant-vowel coarticulation

Marjoleine Sloos, Jeroen van de Weijer, Yunyun Ran

Although partial coarticulation of consonants and vowels is common, coarticulation in which consonantal features are realized for the complete duration of the vowel are rarely reported (except for vowel nasalization). Such extreme consonant-vowel coarticulation may occur if a fricative or affricate is followed by a vowel with the same voicing and place of articulation, causing frication during the entirety of the vowel. This paper illustrates and discusses fricative-vowel coarticulation in Huangyan Taizhou, a Wu Chinese dialect, where this only occurs in the low tonal register. Consonant-vowel coarticulation in general appears to be a remarkably strong tendency of Huangyan Taizhou (HT). First, fricative-vowel coarticulation involves a larger number of vowels and consonants than reported for other languages in which fricative vowels occur, viz. four different consonants and three vowels. Second, HT also has two other processes of extreme coarticulation of consonants and vowels. The first is a historical process in which a nasal and the following vowel were coarticulated and eventually merged, resulting in syllabic nasals with a tonal specification. Like fricative-vowel coarticulation, these syllabic nasals only occur in the low register. A more common process of extensive coarticulation also occurs in HT, namely, vowel nasalization, which is unrelated to tone and register. In this paper, we present these different forms of extreme coarticulation in HT, discuss their possible underlying mechanisms and why they are related to register.

 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-3

Cite as: Sloos, M., van de Weijer, J., Ran, Y. (2018) Register, tone, and consonant-vowel coarticulation. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 15-19, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-3.

  author={Marjoleine Sloos and Jeroen {van de Weijer} and Yunyun Ran},
  title={Register, tone, and consonant-vowel coarticulation},
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},