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Pouplier, Marianne and Hoole, Philip (2016): Articulatory and Acoustic Characteristics of German Fricative Clusters. In: Phonetica, Vol. 73, No. 1: pp. 52-78 [PDF, 757kB]


Background: We investigate the articulatory-acoustic relationship in German fricative sequences. We pursue the possibility that /f/#sibilant and /s#integral/ sequences are in principle subject to articulatory overlap in a similar fashion, yet due to independent articulators being involved, there is a significant difference in the acoustic consequences. We also investigate the role of vowel context and stress. Methods: We recorded electropalatographic and acoustic data from 9 native speakers of German. Results: Results are compatible with the hypothesis that the temporal organization of fricative clusters is globally independent of cluster type with differences between clusters appearing mainly in degree. Articulatory overlap may be obscured acoustically by a labiodental constriction, similarly to what has been reported for stops. Conclusion: Our data suggest that similar principles of articulatory coordination underlie German fricative clusters independently of their segmental composition. The general auditory-acoustic patterning of the fricative sequences can be predicted by taking into account that aerodynamic-acoustic consequences of gestural overlap may vary as a function of the articulators involved. We discuss possible sources for differences in degrees of overlap and place our results in the context of previously reported asymmetries among the fricatives in regressive place assimilation. (C) 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel

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