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An acoustic and statistical analysis of Spanish mid-vowel allophones

By Geoffrey-Stewart Morrison

Abstract

In 1918 Navarro Tomás claimed that Spanish mid vowels have open and close allophones. Whilst some acoustic studies have supported these claims, others have not. The conclusions in these studies were subjective since they failed to apply statistical analysis to the acoustic data. Statistical analysis is required to determine whether data with a range of values can be grouped into distinct categories. The present study investigates the production of Spanish /e/ and /o/ in several contexts in which Navarro Tomás claimed open and close allophones would be found. Recordings were made of a male and a female speaker of educated Madrid Spanish, the dialect which Navarro Tomás originally described. First and second formants were measured and statistically analysed. Formant frequencies did not cluster into two groups associated with the contexts in which Navarro Tomás claimed each allophone would occur. Other potential allophones were identified: fronted and retracted allophones for /o/; and close-fronted, central, and openretracted allophones for /e/.In 1918 Navarro Tomás claimed that Spanish mid vowels have open and close allophones. Whilst some acoustic studies have supported these claims, others have not. The conclusions in these studies were subjective since they failed to apply statistical analysis to the acoustic data. Statistical analysis is required to determine whether data with a range of values can be grouped into distinct categories. The present study investigates the production of Spanish /e/ and /o/ in several contexts in which Navarro Tomás claimed open and close allophones would be found. Recordings were made of a male and a female speaker of educated Madrid Spanish, the dialect which Navarro Tomás originally described. First and second formants were measured and statistically analysed. Formant frequencies did not cluster into two groups associated with the contexts in which Navarro Tomás claimed each allophone would occur. Other potential allophones were identified: fronted and retracted allophones for /o/; and close-fronted, central, and openretracted allophones for /e/.En 1918 Navarro Tomás afirmó que había alófonos abiertos y cerrados de las vocales medias de castellano. Aunque los resultados de varios estudios subsiguientes están de acuerdo con la afirmación, otros están en desacuerdo. Las conclusiones de estos estudios son subjetivas porque no analizaron estadísticamente los datos acústicos. Un análisis estadístico es imprescindible para determinar si se pueden asignar datos con una variedad de valores a categorías distintas. El presente estudio investiga la producción de /e/ y /o/ castellano en varios de los contextos en que Navarro Tomás afirmó que había alófonos abiertos y cerrados. Se grabaron las producciones de un hombre y una mujer, hablantes de un dialecto madrileño educado, el dialecto que Navarro Tomás describió. Se medió y analizó estadísticamente el primer y el segundo formante de las vocales. Las frecuencias de los formantes no se apiñaron en dos grupos asociados con los contextos en que Navarro Tomás afirmó aparecía cada alófono. Se identificaron otros alófonos potenciales: anterior y posterior para /o/; y anterior-cerrado, central, y posterior-abierto para /e/

Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:raco.cat:article/140010
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