Sonority in British English

Yoshitaka Nakajima, Kazuo Ueda, Shota Fujimaru, Yuki Ohsaka

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Our previous study on British English speech [Nakajima et al.; Fechner Day 2012, Ottawa] was extended into the domain of phonology. Factor analyses were performed on the power fluctuations of the outputs of 19 critical-band filters, which separated British English sentences uttered by two female speakers and one male speaker into narrow-band signals. A database of British English spoken sentences [The ATR British English speech database (Campbell, 1993)] was used for the present analysis, because each identifiable speech sound was indicated in the speech waveform with a label of a phonetic symbol. About 80% of 31,663 labels were considered to represent English phonemes. Three factors appeared as in our previous research [Ueda et al.; Fechner Day 2010, Padova], and one of them corresponding to a frequency range of about 500-1700 Hz was closely related to sonority or aperture described in linguistics literature. The acoustic sonority could be related to a few phonological phenomena: 1) A sonorant consonant immediately after an obstruent can be a syllable nucleus, 2) a consonant cluster at the beginning of a word mostly begins with an obstruent, and 3) a short schwa cannot be a nucleus of a stressed syllable.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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