Fourth European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Madrid, Spain
September 18-21, 1995

The Spatial and the Temporal Dimensions of Consonant Reduction in Conversational Italian

Edda Farnetani

Centro di Fonetica del C.N.R. - Padova, Italy

This study is an electropalatographic investigation of the spatiotemporal characteristics of consonants /t/,/d/,/n/,/l/, /s/ in Italian, produced by two subjects in spontaneous, conversational speech. The data show that consonant reduction is a continuous process, inversely related to duration, in agreement with Lindblom's model [1,2]. Duration-dependent target undershoot is manifested as a progressive decrease in tongue tip/blade contact and a retraction of the constriction location, to extreme cases where no sign of. front contact is detectable (and the consonant is no longer perceived). An important finding is that the degree and the frequency of undershoot is consonant-specific and that the reduction patterns lawfully mirror the tongue-body coarticulation patterns observed in previous research on isolated words. This indicates the consonant-specific production constraints are preserved across speaking styles.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Farnetani, Edda (1995): "The spatial and the temporal dimensions of consonant reduction in conversational Italian", In EUROSPEECH-1995, 2255-2258.