4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Can a Moraic Nasal Occur Word-initially in Japanese?

Takashi Otake (1), Kiyoko Yoneyama (2)

(1) Department of English, Dokkyo University, Soka, Saitama, Japan
(2) Department of Linguistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA

In this study two experiments were conducted to examine whether a moraic nasal could occur word-initially in Japanese, manipulating duration of an onset nasal. In Experiment I, the duration of word-initial nasals, /n/ and /m/, in two CVCV non-words were prolonged up to 300% in steps of one-tenth of the original duration. 10 Japanese college students were presented with the stimuli and asked to write them in Roman letters. The results showed that both nasals, irrespective of place of articulation, were recognized as N+n and N+m respectively when the word-initial nasal exceeded 1.8 times longer than the original duration. In Experiment II, the word initial CV syllable in two non-words, /kaNnaka/ and /KaNmaka/, was spliced off, leaving a long word-initial nasal and the nasal duration (both N+n and N+m) was decreased up to 10% in steps of one-tenth of the original duration. 10 Japanese college students were presented with them to dictate in Roman letters. The results showed that both nasals were recognized as N+n and N+m respectively as long as a certain duration was maintained. The results of the two experiments suggest that a word-initial nasal, just like a word-medial one, can be recognized as moraic as long as it achieves a certain duration in Japanese.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Otake, Takashi / Yoneyama, Kiyoko (1996): "Can a moraic nasal occur word-initially in Japanese?", In ICSLP-1996, 2454-2457.