Many lexical factors have been shown to influence phonetic realization of words. For example, studies have shown that voice onset time (VOT) of word-initial stops is shorter in high-frequency words than in low-frequency words, and is longer in words that form a voicing minimal pair, e.g., cod-god, than in words that do not, e.g., cop-*gop. The present study begins to ask whether such lexically conditioned phonetic variations are language-general, by examining productions of words in Japanese. The stimuli were two-mora Japanese minimal pairs contrasting in word-initial /k/ vs. /g/, half of which were real words, e.g., /kara/, while the other half were similar-sounding nonwords, e.g., */kapa/. Furthermore, half of the items had a lexical competitor contrasting in voicing, e.g., /kara/-/gara/, while the other half did not, e.g., /kana/-*/gana/. The stimuli were split so that each participant read only one member of each minimal pair. Twenty-four native Japanese speakers read the target items interspersed with filler items. Results showed opposite trends from those previous reported. Specifically, VOT for /k/-initial words was longer for (high-frequency) real words than for (low-frequency) nonwords, and was shorter for words that had a lexical competitor than for words that did not. [Work supported by JSPS.]
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Lexically conditioned phonetic variation: A test with the voicing contrast in Japanese
Keiichi Tajima, Kiyoko Yoneyama, Mafuyu Kitahara; Lexically conditioned phonetic variation: A test with the voicing contrast in Japanese. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 September 2018; 144 (3_Supplement): 1901. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.5068326
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