Tamil is unusual among the world’s languages in that some of its dialects have five contrasting liquids. This paper focuses on the characterization of these sounds in terms of articulatory geometry and kinematics, as well as their articulatory-acoustic relations. This study illustrates the use of multiple techniques—static palatography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and magnetometry (EMMA)—for investigating both static and dynamic articulatory characteristics using a single native speaker of Tamil. Dialectal merger and neutralization phenomena exhibited by the liquids of Tamil are discussed. Comparisons of English /ɹ/ and /l/ with Tamil provide evidence for generality in underlying mechanisms of rhotic and lateral production. The articulatory data justify the postulation of a class of rhotics and a class of laterals in Tamil, but do not provide evidence in favor of a larger class of liquids. Such a superclass appears to have largely an acoustic basis.
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October 01 1999
Geometry, kinematics, and acoustics of Tamil liquid consonants
Shrikanth Narayanan, Dani Byrd, Abigail Kaun; Geometry, kinematics, and acoustics of Tamil liquid consonants. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 October 1999; 106 (4): 1993–2007. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.427946
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