14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

A Physiological Analysis of the Tense/Lax Vowel Contrast in Two Varieties of German

Conceição Cunha, Jonathan Harrington, Phil Hoole

LMU München, Germany

The purpose of this study was to make use of physiological data to test whether there is a greater overlap between tense and lax vowels in Standard Austrian German (SAG) compared with those of Standard German (SG). In order to do so, movement data was analyzed of various tense/lax vowels pairs produced in symmetrical consonantal contexts using electromagnetic articulometry from seven SG and eight SAG speakers. Parafac and principal components analysis were used to compress the multi-channel articulatory data at the temporal midpoint of the vowel to a two-dimensional space whose axes were related to phonetic backness and height. The results of these analyses showed a closer approximation between tense/lax vowel pairs vertically but much less so horizontally for SAG compared with SG vowels.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cunha, Conceição / Harrington, Jonathan / Hoole, Phil (2013): "A physiological analysis of the tense/lax vowel contrast in two varieties of German", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 325-329.