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De rol van vocaalduur bij de categorisatie van onbeklemtoonde Nederlandse klinkers

Book Contribution - Chapter

Listeners are able to classify sounds into discrete categories. Th is phenomenon is called categorical perception. A variable that substantially influences perception is the linguistic background of the listener. For example, listeners can have diffi culties recognizing sounds from a language they are not familiar with. However, a factor that has not been studied in detail, is the influence of the regional background of listeners with the same mother tongue on the perception of speech sounds. This article addresses this question. Phonological descriptions of vowel systems often distinguish between ‘tense’ and ‘ lax’ vowels. Both categories may differ in pitch, intensity, vowel quality and duration. This article focuses on the role of vowel duration in the categorisation of unstressed vowels. The study is based on a corpus of spontaneously spoken Standard Dutch, produced by 80 Flemish and 80 Dutch teachers of Dutch. In a previous study Kloots et al. (2006) found that Flemish listeners categorized unstressed /a/’s and /o/’s quite consistently as ‘ lax’, whereas Dutch listeners clearly differentiated between ‘tense’ and ‘ lax’ vowels. The present follow-up study shows that the ‘tense’-‘ lax’ distinction of the Dutch listeners goes hand in hand with a significant difference in vowel duration: ‘tense’ vowels have a longer duration than their ‘ lax’ counterparts. The mean duration of the vowels, categorized as ‘tense’ and ‘ lax’ by the Flemish listeners was not signifi cantly diff erent. These findings confirm our assumption that (only) for the Dutch listeners there is a real phoneme boundary between ‘tense’ and ‘ lax’ unstressed vowels.
Book: Voor Magda : artikelen voor Magda Devos bij haar afscheid van de Universiteit Gent
Pages: 347 - 361
Publication year:2010