An Acoustic and Perceptual Study of Connemara Irish Palatalization


Palatalization contrasts are subject to certain asymmetries across languages (Takatori 1997, Kochetov 2002). For example, they are preferred at the beginning of words or syllables rather than at the end, and they are preferred in coronals rather than labials. Kochetov (2002, 2004) argues that these asymmetries are perceptually motivated, and he provides supporting evidence from Russian. We report on results of an acoustic and perceptual study of palatalization in Connemara Irish. Our acoustic analysis documents a range of properties distinguishing palatalized from non-palatalized consonants in Irish, though our acoustic data come from only one speaker. Based on a speeded AX discrimination task, our perceptual results in some ways parallel Kochetov's for Russian (listeners show degraded performance for the coda contrast compared to the onset contrast), and in some ways do not (they do not perform better on coronals than on labials).

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