What it means to be phonetic or phonological: The case of Romanian devoiced nasals

Benjamin V. Tucker, Natasha Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Abstract phonological patterns and detailed phonetic patterns can combine to produce unusual acoustic results, but criteria for what aspects of a pattern are phonetic and what aspects are phonological are often disputed. Early literature on Romanian makes mention of nasal devoicing in word-final clusters (e.g. in /basm/ 'fairy-tale'). Using acoustic, aerodynamic and ultrasound data, the current work investigates how syllable structure, prosodic boundaries, phonetic paradigm uniformity and assimilation influence Romanian nasal devoicing. It provides instrumental phonetic documentation of devoiced nasals, a phenomenon that has not been widely studied experimentally, in a phonetically underdocumented language. We argue that sound patterns should not be separated into phonetics and phonology as two distinct systems, but neither should they all be grouped together as a single, undifferentiated system. Instead, we argue for viewing the distinction between phonetics and phonology as a largely continuous multidimensional space, within which sound patterns, including Romanian nasal devoicing, fall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-324
Number of pages36
JournalPhonology
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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