School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    A perceptual basis for the foot parameter in the development of distinctive nasalization
    Watson, Ian ; HAJEK, JOHN ( 1999)
    The importance of perceptual phenomena in nasal vowel development is well known, but only recently has attention turned to suprasegmental phenomena known to condition this development. Perceptual explanations have already been given for the conditioning effect of vowel length, and, more tentatively, stress. In this study, we provide data from perceptual experiments in which nasality judgements were obtained from English speakers to examine the conditioning effects of three suprasegmental phenomena, all related to stress. The perceptual basis of the stress parameter is confirmed, however, no evidence is found of a similar effect underlying observed differences in nasalisation between pre and post-tonic vowels. Most importantly, foot structure is shown to condition nasality judgements such that vowels in single syllable feet (oxytones) are judged as more nasal than those in trochaic (paroxytonic) feet. Both the stress and the foot structure effects are shown to be independent of the vowel-length.
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    Universals of nasal attrition
    Connell, B. ; HAJEK, J. ( 1991)
    The claim that there is a hierarchy governing the attrition of nasals according to place of articulation is put to test in this paper by examination of cross linguistic data from two language groups which are unrelated genetically and geographically: the Romance dialects of Northern Italy and the Lower Cross group of South-Eastern Nigeria. Results of this new survey provide interesting food for thought: developments in the Northern Italian dialects support, to a large extent, predictions that follow from phonetic considerations. However, the Lower Cross languages at first appear to contradict expectations. This suggests that other factors may need to be taken account of, before a true universal tendency, if one exists, can be established.