What do Finnish and Central Bavarian Have in Common? Towards an Acoustically Based Quantity Typology

Markus Jochim, Felicitas Kleber


The aim of this study was to investigate vowel and consonant quantity in Finnish, a typical quantity language, and to set up a reference corpus for a large-scale project studying the diachronic development of quantity contrasts in German varieties. Although German is not considered a quantity language, both tense and lax vowels and voiced and voiceless stops are differentiated by vowel and closure duration, respectively. The role of these cues, however, has undergone different diachronic changes in various German varieties. To understand the conditions for such prosodic changes, the present study investigates the stability of quantity relations in an undisputed quantity language. To this end, recordings of words differing in vowel and stop length were obtained from seven older and six younger L1 Finnish speakers, both in a normal and a loud voice. We then measured vowel and stop duration and calculated the vowel to vowel-plus-consonant ratio (a measure known to differentiate German VC sequences) as well as the geminate-to-singleton ratio. Results show stability across age groups but variability across speech styles. Moreover, VC ratios were similar for Finnish and Bavarian German speakers. We discuss our findings against the background of a typology of vowel and consonant quantity.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1285

Cite as: Jochim, M., Kleber, F. (2017) What do Finnish and Central Bavarian Have in Common? Towards an Acoustically Based Quantity Typology. Proc. Interspeech 2017, 3018-3022, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1285.


@inproceedings{Jochim2017,
  author={Markus Jochim and Felicitas Kleber},
  title={What do Finnish and Central Bavarian Have in Common? Towards an Acoustically Based Quantity Typology},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2017},
  pages={3018--3022},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1285},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2017-1285}
}