Phonetic content and phonological structure affect pre-boundary lengthening in German

Fabian Schubö, Sabine Zerbian


This paper reports on a production experiment investigating the domain of pre-boundary lengthening (PBL) in German. Prior studies found that PBL is initiated on the last main stress syllable before the phrase boundary and gradually increases up to the end of the phrase. Our results show that the initiation of PBL also depends on the phonetic content: An analysis of name pairs only differing as to the presence of a final coda consonant (e.g. Ramona vs. Ramonas) revealed that an additional segment leads to a later initiation of PBL. Furthermore, the results show that the final rime triggers a drastic increase of lengthening independent of its internal structure, which attests a structure-based effect on the distribution of lengthening within the PBL domain. We account for our findings by means of a model that incorporates the main stress syllable as an anchor for the PBL domain, but allows PBL to expand to the left if the amount of following material is limited. The effects found for German in this study resemble some of the observations recently made for Japanese, which suggests that they might be universal tendencies.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-23

Cite as: Schubö, F., Zerbian, S. (2020) Phonetic content and phonological structure affect pre-boundary lengthening in German. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 111-115, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-23.


@inproceedings{Schubö2020,
  author={Fabian Schubö and Sabine Zerbian},
  title={{Phonetic content and phonological structure affect pre-boundary lengthening in German}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={111--115},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-23},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-23}
}