The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 09/22 - Benjamin Storme

Speaker: Benjamin Storme (MIT)
Title: Closed syllable vowel laxing and the perceptibility of coda consonant place contrasts
Date/Time: Monday, September 22, 5-6:30 pm
Location: 32-D461

Closed syllable vowel laxing describes a common pattern of allophonic distribution where tense vowels are laxed in closed syllables (e.g., French vous votez /vote/ “you vote” vs il vote /vɔt/ “he votes”). I propose that laxing vowels (e.g., o->ɔ) in closed syllables is a strategy selected by speakers to enhance the perceptibility of coda consonant place contrasts. I present results of a perception experiment that provide preliminary support for this hypothesis.