Second International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP'92)

Banff, Alberta, Canada
October 13-16, 1992

Linguistic Versus Phonetic Explanation of Consonant Lengthening After Short Vowels: A Contrastive Study of Dutch And English

Vincent J. van Heuven

Dept. Linguistics/Phonetics Laboratory, Leyden University, Leyden, The Netherlands

In Dutch, intervocalic consonants are longer after short vowels than after long vowels. Two explanations for this phenomenon are experimentally tested in this paper. The first is a universal explanation, suggesting that short vowels are abruptly stopped ("checked"), so that the tail-portion of the vowel is traded for longer closure duration. The second is a language specific explanation: in the phonology of Dutch, consonants after short vowels have to be analyzed as geminates; longer consonant duration in this context reflects the underlying geminate status. If the language specific explanation is correct, the lengthening effect should not be found for English, which does not require intervocalic consonants after short vowels to be analyzed as geminates. If the universal phonetic account is true, the consonant lengthening effect should be found in any language, including Dutch and English. We report an experiment set up to choose between these two competing accounts.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Heuven, Vincent J. van (1992): "Linguistic versus phonetic explanation of consonant lengthening after short vowels: a contrastive study of dutch and English", In ICSLP-1992, 1275-1278.