Proceedings of the Xth Conference, Helsinki 2008
Edited By Martti Vainio, Reijo Aulanko and Olli Aaltonen
15. Regional variation in the perception of Estonian quantity 151
REGIONAL VARIATION IN THE PERCEPTION OF ESTONIAN QUANTITY Pärtel Lippus Karl Pajusalu 1 Introduction Estonian is known for its three-way quantity distinction. The primary feature of the Estonian quantity is the length of the first syllable nucleus in combination with the duration pattern of the sound segments in the foot (Lehiste, 1997, 2003; Traunmüller and Krull, 2003; Eek and Meister, 2003, 2004). It has been shown that besides the durational cues pitch plays an important role in the Estonian quantity perception, being vital for distinguishing long from the overlong quantity degree (Lehiste, 1970, 1997, 2003; Lehiste and Danforth, 1977; Eek, 1980a). The pitch contour of words in short (Q1) and long quantity degree (Q2) have the turning point at the end of the first syllable, while the overlong quantity degree (Q3) has it earlier in the first syllable (e.g. Lehiste, 1997, 2003). In this study we carried out a perception experiment to test the importance of the pitch cue using re-synthesized stimuli from words  (short, Q1),  (long, Q2),  (overlong, Q3) for the vowel quantity, and  (Q1), [ ] (Q2),  (Q3) for the consonant quantity. The duration of V1 (in case of vowel lengthening) or C2 (in case of consonant lengthening) was changed while the pitch contour remained unchanged. In Lippus et al. (2007) we reported the results of a group of 9 native vs. 9 non- native Estonian speakers with different first languages. The results of the Estonian speakers showed that in the case of vowel quantity, the test subjects...
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