Effects of Japanese Prosody on English Word Production: Interaction between Voicing and Gemination

Kiyoko Yoneyama, Mafuyu Kitahara, Keiichi Tajima


Vowels are generally longer before voiced than voiceless consonants in English. Vowel duration in productions by American English speakers (AE) is affected especially by the voicing of postvocalic consonants and the quality of the target vowel. Similar voicing effects in Japanese infants and adults, and also in English produced by Japanese learners (JE) were found as well. However, previous studies on voicing effects in JE overlooked an important factor: gemination in loanwords. Data from a production experiment using monosyllabic English words with and without gemination in their borrowed counterparts were analyzed. Participants were 15 university students in Tokyo from intermediate to advanced proficiency levels in English, and two AE speakers for control. Results showed that vowel duration for JE was conditioned not by post-vocalic voicing, but instead by geminatability of the word, which was independently judged by 12 Japanese listeners in a different experiment. Post-vocalic stop closure duration was longer for voiceless than voiced stops, and longer for words that were judged to have a geminate stop than words that did not, for JE but not for AE speakers. Thus, voicing effects attested in AE speech is not straightforwardly realized in JE because of the interference from Japanese prosody.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-184

Cite as: Yoneyama, K., Kitahara, M., Tajima, K. (2020) Effects of Japanese Prosody on English Word Production: Interaction between Voicing and Gemination. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 900-904, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-184.


@inproceedings{Yoneyama2020,
  author={Kiyoko Yoneyama and Mafuyu Kitahara and Keiichi Tajima},
  title={{Effects of Japanese Prosody on English Word Production: Interaction between Voicing and Gemination}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},
  pages={900--904},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-184},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-184}
}