EUROSPEECH 2001 Scandinavia
7th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Aalborg, Denmark
September 3-7, 2001


Pre-Liquid Excrescent Schwa: What Happens when Vocalic Targets Conflict

Bryan Gick, Ian Wilson

University of British Columbia, Canada

Sequences of high tense vowel + liquid in English often result in the percept of an intervening schwa, as in, e.g., heel, hail, hire. We argue in this paper that this apparent schwa is simply the incidental acoustic result of the tongue moving through "schwa-space" (a schwa-like position) during the transition between conflicting tongue root targets. This conflict bears on both articulatory timing relationships in syllable codas and tongue root specification for tense vowels. We present two experiments: Experiment 1 shows that excrescent schwa does not correspond with greater duration of syllable rimes; Experiment 2 shows that the tongue moves through schwa space along its trajectory in the excrescent schwa cases. Our results support a timing model whereby coda timing is determined by the relationship between syllable peak and consonant closure, but where timing is unaffected by the number of intervening vocalic events.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gick, Bryan / Wilson, Ian (2001): "Pre-liquid excrescent schwa: what happens when vocalic targets conflict", In EUROSPEECH-2001, 273-276.