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Trends in Phonetics and Phonology

Studies from German-speaking Europe

Edited By Adrian Leemann, Marie-José Kolly, Stephan Schmid and Volker Dellwo

This volume was inspired by the 9th edition of the Phonetik & Phonologie conference, held in Zurich in October 2013. It includes state of the art research on phonetics and phonology in various languages and from interdisciplinary contributors. The volume is structured into the following eight sections: segmentals, suprasegmentals, articulation in spoken and sign language, perception, phonology, crowdsourcing phonetic data, second language speech, and arts (with inevitable overlap between these areas).
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Quality and quantity in high vowels in Standard Austrian German



In Standard German German (SGG), the high vowels /i, ɪ, y, ʏ, u, ʊ/ are clearly distinguished by vowel quality. This distinction has often been disputed for Standard Austrian German (SAG). In this contribution, we will consider the question of whether SAG speakers neutralize the quality of high vowel pairs. Read pseudowords of 18 SAG speakers raised in Vienna and 7 SGG speakers have been subjected to acoustic analysis (F1, F2, F3, duration). Overall results indicate that high vowel pairs are distinguished both by quality and by quantity. However, quality distinctions are less pronounced in SAG than in SGG. This result raises the question of whether the differences observed for SAG are large enough to justify a quality distinction. Moreover, some age-specific differences regarding duration and F1 of the rounded vowels can tentatively be interpreted as an ongoing sound change. Perception tests will provide a more in-depth understanding of the implementation of this contrast.


Standard Austrian German, vowel merger, sound change, vowel quantity

*   Corresponding author:, Tel: +43 1 51581 2503, Fax: +43 1 51581 2530

a   Acoustics Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wohllebengasse 12–14, 1040 Vienna, Austria ← 79 | 80 →

1.0   Introduction

In Standard German German (SGG), all vowel pairs, with the exception of a-vowels, for which a quantity distinction is assumed, are distinguished phonologically by vowel quality (Jessen et al., 1995; Simpson, 1998). Vowel length is, if at all, an...

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