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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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Discrimination sensitivities and identification patterns of vowel quality and duration in German /u/ and /o/ instances

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Abstract

The German vowel length contrast uses duration and quality (tense vs. lax) as phonetic cues. So far, the relative importance between these two cues has been assessed by identification tests. The present study extends this work by including discrimination tests assessing discrimination sensitivities to temporal and spectral changes in /u/ – /o/ vowels embedded in disyllabic stimuli.

Results favor vowel duration as the primary cue for vowel discrimination. Temporal discrimination showed a sensitivity maximum at the short-long boundary. Spectral discrimination did not reveal any sensitivity to lax-tense changes but only to changes between vowel types such as /u/ and /o/. It is concluded that vowel duration is used as the primary cue whereas vowel quality, the secondary cue, supports the contrast by increasing the perceptual distance between short and long vowels.

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