5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Rhodes, Greece
September 22-25, 1997

The Perception of Coronals in Western Arrernte

Victoria B. Anderson

Phonetics Laboratory, Dept of Linguistics, UCLA, CA, USA; Institute for Aboriginal Development, Alice Springs, Australia

This study examined perception of multiple coronal places of articulation by native listeners of Western Arrernte. Three main findings emerged. 1) Coronal nasals and laterals are as perceptually robust as coronal stops. 2) Across manners of articulation, apical alveolars are less perceptually robust than other coronals. 3) Formant transitions from a preceding vowel are necessary to correctly identify apical alveolars and apical postalveolars. Acoustic analysis shows the importance of cues on the preceding vowel side for apical postalveolars, and on the following vowel side for laminal palatoalveolars. Laminal dentals have statistically distinguishable cues on both sides of the segment. Apical alveolars are hardest to characterize acoustically, and may be perceived by default. Low perceptibility of apical alveolars may be a reason for low functional load of the apical contrast. Result 3 corroborates Steriade's idea that contrasts "must be licensed by the presence of their cues." [4]

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Anderson, Victoria B. (1997): "The perception of coronals in Western Arrernte", In EUROSPEECH-1997, 389-392.