ITRW on Experimental Linguistics

Athens, Greece
August 28-30, 2006

Romanian Palatalized Consonants: A Perceptual Study

Laura Spinu

Department of Linguistics, University of Delaware, USA

Most consonants in the Romanian inventory are claimed to have a surface palatalized counterpart carrying functional meaning; it is not clear, however, whether the set of palatalized consonants is represented underlyingly. The present study investigated the perception of palatalized consonants based on two experiments. It was found that native speakers can discriminate between plain and palatalized segments, but sensitivity to palatalization decreases when another morphological cue is present. It was further confirmed that the primary place of articulation affects perceptibility. This situation is intriguing from a representational perspective, since neither phonemic nor allophonic status in the sense of a classical analysis can fully describe the behavior of these consonants.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Spinu, Laura (2006): "Romanian palatalized consonants: a perceptual study", In ExLing-2006, 225-228.