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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Department of Linguistics

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WPP, No.111: Glottal articulations of phonation contrasts and their acoustic and perceptual consequences


This study explores the properties of one type of phonation contrast - the tense vs. lax phonation contrasts of Yi (Loloish) languages – in terms of their glottal articulations, acoustic correlates, and perceptual salience. To determine the glottal articulations involved in the phonation contrasts, we adopted Functional Data Analysis to analyze entire EGG glottal pulse shapes. This method is found to capture differences in the abruptness of contact, a key property that is not captured by traditional EGG parameter measures. The primary contact patterns for phonation contrasts are very consistent across languages, speakers, and genders, and there is only one underlying articulatory pattern for these tense vs. lax contrasts. Overall, we found consistent correlations among the different kinds of measures, which means that speakers and listeners are able to establish a stable link between articulation, acoustic signals and perception.

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