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Stevens, Mary and Hajek, John (2004): Comparing voiced and voiceless geminates in Sienese Italian: what role does preaspiration play? 10. Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Sydney, 8. - 10. Dezember 2004. In: Proceedings of the 10th Australian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology, Sydney: pp. 340-345 [PDF, 478kB]


This paper compares the acoustic phonetic appearance of voiced & voiceless geminate stops in Sienese Italian. In our spontaneous speech data voiceless geminate stops are frequently preaspirated, which is an extremely rare phenomenon cross-linguistically. Preaspiration of voiceless stops has been associated in other languages with devoicing of voiced stops. We compare the acoustic appearance & duration of voiceless /VC:/ sequences (with & without preaspiration) with voiced /VC:/ sequences in our language. Results indicate that long voiced stops in Sienese Italian are often partially devoiced – a phenomenon that has not been reported previously for any variety of Italian. We suggest that preaspiration & devoicing are likely related, & attempt to provide an articulatory explanation as to why they occur.

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