An exploration of the acoustic space of rhotics and laterals in Ruruuli

Margaret Zellers, Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Lilja Saeboe, Saudah Namyalo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Liquid consonants—rhotics and laterals—have been shown to demonstrate unique distributional patterns cross-linguistically. It is also claimed that rhotics are more difficult to distinguish from one another phonetically than laterals, and that rhotics are less flexible than laterals when it comes to participation in consonant clusters and coarticulatory patterns. We investigate the phonetic realization of the rhotic and lateral phonemes in a Bantu language, Ruruuli. The acoustic space used for rhotics and laterals in this language is extremely similar, although the density peaks in terms of formant values are different. Formant values as well as formant ratios can be reliably used to distinguish between rhotics and laterals. In common with many other languages, an asymmetry between laterals and rhotics is found in Ruruuli, with laterals being more positionally constrained than rhotics. The overlap in acoustic space between rhotics and laterals may cast doubt on the status or stability of the phonological contrast between rhotics and laterals in this language.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publication22nd Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH 2021
PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association
Pages1658-1662
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781713836902
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Event22nd Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH 2021 - Brno, Czech Republic
Duration: 30 Aug 20213 Sep 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH
Volume3
ISSN (Print)2308-457X
ISSN (Electronic)1990-9772

Conference

Conference22nd Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH 2021
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
CityBrno
Period30/08/213/09/21

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 ISCA.

Keywords

  • Acoustic phonetics
  • Bantu
  • Laterals
  • Liquid consonants
  • Rhotics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An exploration of the acoustic space of rhotics and laterals in Ruruuli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this