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Jochim, Markus ORCID: 0000-0002-5638-4870; Kleber, Felicitas (2022): Fast-Speech-Induced Hypoarticulation Does Not Considerably Affect the Diachronic Reversal of Complementary Length in Central Bavarian. In: Language and Speech [Forthcoming]
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This study investigated a sound change in progress by which the Central Bavarian dialect feature of complementary length between consonant and the preceding vowel is giving way to the unrestricted combination possibility of long (Vː) and short (V) vowels with following longer fortis (Cː) and shorter lenis (C) stops, respectively. This 2 × 2 system is also found in the standard variety of German. While previous studies have regarded any such findings of convergence toward Standard German as being a result of language contact, the present study specifically tested the possibility of fast-speech-induced hypoarticulation being a system-internal driver of this change. The focus of this study was on acoustic cues to the postvocalic stop. Following the apparent-time paradigm, acoustic analyses of 10 younger and 10 older dialect speakers revealed that (1) younger dialect speakers produced both VC and VːCː (both formerly illegal in the dialect), but (2) older dialect speakers produced only VːCː sequences with duration patterns similar to those of the control group of 10 Standard German speakers. Analyses of various dependent variables further showed (3) the (apparently) delayed emergence of aspiration as an additional cue to the fortis–lenis contrast in Western Central Bavarian particularly in younger dialect speakers, (4) no considerable effect of speech rate on the dispersion of and overlap between any of the four vowel-plus-stop combinations, and (5) the irregular spread of this change that appears to be gradual. As such, the findings support a model of linguistic change that also accounts for gradual changes in dialect borrowing.