Phonetic studies of Polish mention allophonic variation in Polish vowels: there is a systematic effect of fronting and/or raising in the prepalatal consonant context (Sawicka 1995, Wiśniewski 1997). Additionally, phonemic [i] is excluded after non-palatalized consonants, and the phonemic [ɨ] does not occur after prepalatals. In other words, a subset of vowel realizations is bound to the context of prepalatal consonants. No X-ray images are available of the contextual variants of vowels adjacent to prepalatal consonants. In this study, we present 3-D tongue shapes of the vowels in the neutral and prepalatal context. All participants in the study show, indeed, variation in the vowel articulation: one can observe some degree of fronting and/or raising of the tongue body combined with the consistent advancement of the tongue root for the vowels in the context of prepalatals - as opposed to the vowels in the neutral (non-palatalized) consonant context. The effect can be observed in both front and back vowels.

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