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New Insights into Slavic Linguistics


Edited By Jacek Witkos and Sylwester Jaworski

This volume presents a number of contributions to the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Slavic Linguistics Society held in Szczecin, Poland, October 26–28. The largest number of articles address issues related to the (morpho)syntactic level of language structure, and several papers describe results of recent research into different aspects of Slavic linguistics as well. The current volume proves conclusively that Slavic linguists make a remarkable contribution to the development of various theoretical frameworks by analysing linguistic evidence from richly inflected languages, which allows them to test and modify contemporary theories and approaches based on other types of data.
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A Comparison of Croatian Syllabic [r] and Polish Obstruentised [r]


Sylwester Jaworski

Szczecin University

1. Introduction*

Unlike other natural classes of speech sounds, rhotics constitute a group that can hardly be defined as the various sounds that belong to that category do not share a single articulatory or acoustic property (Lindau 1985, Ladefoged and Maddieson 1996). Despite this intriguing fact, in the phonetic literature, rhotics are frequently treated as if their heterogeneity did not have any influence on their phonology. One of the arguments frequently quoted by various authors, e.g. Wiese (2001, 2003), states that, despite so many different types of rhotics being found in the world’s languages, they occupy vowel-adjacent positions within the syllable. Although this is by far the most common position that rhotics can be found in, there are also languages such as Croatian, Czech, Polish and Russian which allow for sound combinations in which rhotics are flanked by consonants. Obviously, such highly marked clusters can also be found in other languages, e.g. Berber (Coleman 1999).

The primary objective of the paper is to compare and contrast the acoustic properties of the syllabic ‘r-sound’ of Croatian and the obstruentised variant of the Polish rhotic phoneme /r/, i.e. a ‘r-sound’ that is not adjacent to a vowel within the word, as in rtęć ‘mercury’, krtań ‘larynx’, wiatr ‘wind’1. What makes the two sounds similar is their distribution within the word in that they are never adjacent to a vowel. However, in such environments, the Croatian rhotic is said to occupy...

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