Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Four -way stop contrasts in Hindi: An acoustic study of voicing, fundamental frequency and spectral tilt
by Dutta, Indranil, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007, 139; 3301265
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, results from an acoustic phonetic study of the four stops types in Hindi: voiced stops (VS), voiced aspirated stops (VAS), voiceless stops (VLS) and voiceless aspirated stops (VLAS) are reported. The "Standard View" on the distinction between VS and VAS proposes that the voiced aspirated stops are VS with a breathy murmured release and this release feature is sufficient to make the contrast between the VS and VAS. Evidence from studies on the duration of voicing and effect of manner of articulation on the fundamental frequency (f0) of the following vowel in Hindi questions the characterization proposed by the standard view. This study through an examination of durational properties of stop closure, voicing during closure and aspiration following these stops provides evidence against the standard view.

Both VAS and VS have been shown to lower f0 of the following vowel. It has also been shown that the VAS lower f 0 even further. This evidence suggests that f 0 perturbations can be reliable acoustic cues for stop identification. The goal of this dissertation is to understand not only the magnitude of the f0 perturbations but also the extent of this effect in the following vowel.

Spectral intensity analysis of contrasting breathy and modal vowels in Gujarati, !Xóõ and languages which make use of the breathy and modal phonation type as contrastive features provide a background against which spectral analysis of the breathy/murmured release following VAS can be conducted to test the assumptions of the standard view. Spectral analysis based on four measures of spectral intensity of the vowel following the stops indicate that the breathiness following the VAS permeates into a sizeable portion of the vowel. Comparisons between durations of breathiness spread and voiceless aspiration also show that voiceless aspiration is shorter in duration than the duration of breathiness characterized by the difference in spectral intensity between the VAS and the unaspirated stops (VS,VLS). Based on these analyses, I argue that the stop distinctions in Hindi are best understood as a cumulative effect of several acoustic cues, in contradistinction to previous accounts, including the standard view.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hock, Hans Henrich
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics
Keywords: Acoustic, Durational and spectral properties, Four-way stop contrasts, Fundamental frequency, Hindi, Phonetics, Spectral tilt, Stop distinctions, Voicing
Publication Number: 3301265
ISBN: 978-0-549-46344-3
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