Phonetic typology and articulatory constraints:The realisation of secondary articulations in Scottish Gaelic rhotics

Nance, Claire and Kirkham, Sam (2022) Phonetic typology and articulatory constraints:The realisation of secondary articulations in Scottish Gaelic rhotics. Language, 98 (3). pp. 419-460. ISSN 0097-8507

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Abstract

Much progress has been made in the last 200 years about understanding the origins and mechanisms of sound change. It is hypothesised that many sound changes originate in biomechanical constraints on speech production, or in the misperception of sounds. These production and perception pressures explain a wide range of sound changes across the world’s languages, yet we also know that sound change is not inevitable. For example, similar phonological structures have undergone change in many languages yet remained stable in others. In this study, we examine how typologically unusual contrasts are maintained in the face of intense pressures, in order to uncover the potential biomechanical, perceptual and sociolinguistic factors that facilitate the maintenance of typologically unusual contrasts. We focus on secondary articulation contrasts in Scottish Gaelic rhotics, triangulating auditory, acoustic and articulatory data in order to better understand the maintenance of contrast in the face of multi-dimensional typological challenges. Here, individual-level articulatory strategies are combined with contextual prosodic information in order to maintain acoustic and auditory distinctiveness across three rhotic phonemes. We highlight the need to more comprehensively consider typologically unusual and minority languages in order to test the limits of generalisations about cross-linguistic phonetic typology.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Language
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Subjects:
ID Code:
163542
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
16 Dec 2021 17:00
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
30 Nov 2022 00:59