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Acoustic characteristics of the obstruent and nasal geminates in the Ikema dialect of Miyako Ryukyuan

Abstract : Ikema, an endangered Miyako Ryukyuan dialect spoken in the Miyako islands in Okinawa, Japan, is characterized by a set of voiced/voiceless geminates in both wordinitial and medial positions. While the geminates /tt ff ss vv zz tts/ appear in initial and medial positions (/tta/ ‘tongue’, /ffa/ ‘child’, /ssa/ ‘grass’, /vva/ ‘you’, /zzu/ ‘fish’, /avva/ ‘oil’), the geminate /dd/ occurs only in medial position (/badda/ ‘side’). As for nasal geminates, one ‘regular’ type appears in word-initial and medial positions (/nna/ ‘spiral shell’, /kannai/ ‘thunder’) while the other occurs only in initial position as a ‘half voiceless nasal’, that is, the first part of the nasal is a voiceless fricative homorganic to the second voiced part (/n̥na/ ‘rope’, /m̥mu/ ‘cloud’). The paper provides an acoustic description of these geminates, complementary to an earlier rt-MRI study on obstruent geminates by Fujimoto and Shinohara. In the acoustic study, we used oscillograms and spectrograms to analyze sets of real words uttered several times in isolation by five native speakers. Our findings confirmed firstly longer closure duration for plosives, affricates and nasal stops, and longer frication noise for fricatives in geminates compared to singletons, and secondly, full voicing of voiced geminates. The full voicing may be a consequence of pharyngeal expansion seen during voiced geminate constriction in our preceding MRI study. A third finding was the shorter VOT for the geminate voiceless plosive (/tt/) compared to its singleton counterpart. This corresponds to the faster transition from the geminate consonants to the following vowel found in the MRI study. Fourthly, we found that the voiceless friction part of a ‘half voiceless geminate nasal’ is not long enough to fill a half length of a whole geminate as it lasts only for a short duration. Finally, moraic rather than syllabic timing pattern was recognized.
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Contributor : Shigeko Shinohara <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 11:43:42 AM
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Shigeko Shinohara, Masako Fujimoto. Acoustic characteristics of the obstruent and nasal geminates in the Ikema dialect of Miyako Ryukyuan. Babatsouli, E. Crosslinguistic research in monolingual and bilingual speech, pp.253-270, 2018, 978-618-82351-2-0. ⟨halshs-01896658⟩



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