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