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Abstract

Fromkin et al. (2014:278) hypothesize that word-final /z/s are devoiced when they are inflectional suffixes, but non-morphemic /z/s are not devoiced. To date, no known study has tested this hypothesis for any English dialect. The present study tests this hypothesis in Central Minnesota English (CMNE) by making use of five acoustic correlates: F0, center of gravity (CoG), intensity, duration, and the 40/60 Threshold. Nine participants, five males and four females, produced 17 words containing word-final /z/s. The findings reported in this study are based on 765 acoustic tokens (17 x 9 x 5). Overall, the acoustic analyses validate the first part of the hypothesis, but not the second part. Our findings are significant because of their relevance for the sociophonetic studies of language change and variation and for automatic speech recognition.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Author Bio

Cassy Lundy is a Storage Engineer with Dell Compellent Technologies and the Technical Director for the Pioneer Place Theater Company in St. Cloud, MN. He has bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics and Spanish from St. Cloud State University and extensive background in audio/visual and information technology. Casey plans to attend grad school to study human and computer interaction from the perspective of linguistics and computer/information science. He can be reached via email at luca0901@stcloudstate.edu or at casey.lundy@gmail.com.

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