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By Matthew Gordon


This paper presents results of several experiments designed to examine some of the phonetic properties associated with stress and the prosodic hierarchy in Estonian. Peak nasal flow, amplitude and duration were measured for /n / in initial position of four domains: the syllable, the word, the phrase and the utterance. These four prosodic positions were cross-classified by two stress levels: stressed and unstressed. To test the importance of the foot as a prosodic constituent in determining segmental durations in Estonian, two types of data were examined. First, the duration of vowels in different positions within the foot and the word were examined to test the hypothesis that feet are isochronously timed in Estonian. A second experiment tested the hypothesis that the longest type of syllable (the overlong syllable) may, under some conditions, constitute a monosyllabic foot, another manifestation of isochrony. Several results emerged from the experiments. First, data from the nasals provided phonetic evidence for the view that utterances in Estonian consist of progressively larger domains or constituents: the syllable, the word, and the phrase. Not all of these domains, however, are equally well differentiated in terms of the phonetic properties examined in this paper. Second, tentative results suggest that certain durational properties are determined by the foot, while others appear to be a function of domains larger than the foot, in particular the word. Finally, stressed syllables are differentiated from unstressed syllables along subtle and typologically unusual, but nevertheless consistent, acoustic and articulatory parameters. * 1. INTRODUCTION. Th

Year: 2009
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