Acoustics of Kalasha laterals

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Kalasha, a Northwestern Indo-Aryan language spoken in a remote mountainous region of Pakistan, is relatively unusual among languages of the region as it has lateral approximants contrasting in secondary articulation—velarization and palatalization (// vs /lj/). Given the paucity of previous phonetic work on the language and some discrepancies between descriptive accounts, the nature of the Kalasha lateral contrast remains poorly understood. This paper presents an analysis of fieldwork recordings with laterals produced by 14 Kalasha speakers in a variety of lexical items and phonetic contexts. Acoustic analysis of formants measured during the lateral closure revealed that the contrast was most clearly distinguished by F2 (as well as by F2-F1 difference), which was considerably higher for /lj/ than for //. This confirms that the two laterals are primarily distinguished by secondary articulation and not by retroflexion, which is otherwise robustly represented in the language inventory. The laterals showed no positional differences but did show considerable fronting (higher F2) next to
front vowels. Some inter-speaker variation was observed in the realization of //, which was produced with little or no velarization by older speakers. This is indicative of a change in progress, resulting in an overall enhancement of an otherwise auditorily vulnerable contrast. VC 2020 Acoustical Society of America.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Acoustic Society of America
Volume147
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)3012
Number of pages3,027
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 May 2020

ID: 229372714