The elusive/illusive syllable

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THE ELUSIVE / ILLUSIVE SYLLABLE

Vowel loss in unstressed syllables is a common phonological reduction in casual speech.
The focus of this study are three types of words selected.
1. Initial /sp/ and /sk/ clusters.
2. Two-and three- syllable words beginning with an unstressed /s/ + vowel followed by /p/ or /k/ in the streesed syllable.
3. Words created by the loss of the vowel.A representative triad are : SPORT,SUPPORT,S´PORT

The item is that somo speakers differentiated between real clusters and created clusters while others did not.
Americans frecuently employ syncope or loss vowels in unstressed syllables, as in the casual pronunciation os s´pose for suppose.In fact the loss of vowel is so common that it can spill over into more formal styles.
The two juxtaposedconsonants resulting from syncope can create a homophonous word. For example, vowel syncope in SUPPORT results in S´PORT, which is a homophone with SPORT.
The acoustic realizations of singleton consonants differ from consonant in clusters, so that sport and s´port (from support) are phonetically distinct, although it is possible that the two words truly become homophonous.

*DURATION(distinction between singleton and consonants in clusters)
• Price (19180) : In “parade” and “ prayed” found that the syllabic /r/ was longer than nonsyllabic.
• Crystal and House (1988) : In a connected speech the average duration of singleton /s/ was 20 ms longer than /s/ in cluster plus a stop. That duration were influenced by stress; before a stressed vowel, singleton /s/ averaged 120 msdecreased to 95 ms before an unstressed vowel.

*THE VOICE ONSET TIMES (VOT)
In stops, are also shorter when members of clusters than as singleton.
• Klatt (1975) : Observed that the VOT protions of voiceless stops as singletons averaged 47 ms for /p/ and 70 ms for /k/ , but were reducted when the stops followed /s/ and /k/.
• Haggard (1973) : Reported greater abbreviation in homorganicclusters than in clusters wich differ in place of articulation.
• Bon and Korte (1983) : Found that children produced short VOT values for stops in clusters.
• Walsh and Parker (1982) : Offered an explanation for the shortening of consonants in clusters based on the internal structure of syllables, suggesting that shortening in clusters is a process inherent within syllable structure.*VOWEL REDUCTION
• Delatre (1966) : Found specific acoustic parameters defining unstressed vowels, with reduction being particularly marked in English. Reduction occurs as the result of:
1. The rhytm of the language
2. The degrre of articulatory tenseness
3. The degree of vowel strees and duration
4. The amplitude of the vowel in comparison to the average amplitude of theutterance
5. Contextual assimilation
• Umeda (1995) : Found a wider variation in ustressed vowels in word-initial. Factors affecting vowel reduction were :
1. Word prominence
2. Speaker style
3. Grammatical and semantic boundaries.

The questions that this experiment abbout production of created clusters try to resolve are the follows:
1. How are the clusterscreated by vowel syncope (s´port) implemented?
2. Do the member of created clusters retain the characteristics of singleton consonants or do ther resembles consonants which are members of a cluster?
3. Are acoustic differences sufficient for listener to identify words with created clusters as intended two-syllable word?

The material used in this experiment are six sentences setsconstructed which included triads of test words. Each triad was made up of :
• A word with /s/ + /p/ or /k/ in a cluster.
• A word containing a created cluster homophonous or nearly homophonous with the real cluster but derived from a word beginning with an unstressed syllable.
• The word from which the created cluster was derived.

The speaker choosen were eight adult speakers, four...
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