This study investigates the acoustic correlates of the sibilant alveolar fricatives [s] and [z] in the first author’s idiolect. The corpus consists of 32 words containing 13 word-initial [s]s, six wordmedial [s]s, and 13 word-final [z]s. The 32 words are extracted from two texts read in running speech. All in all, 160 tokens are measured acoustically (32 fricatives x 5 correlates). The correlates in question are Center of Gravity, intensity, F2, duration, and voicing attributes. The findings indicate that only Center of Gravity and duration are significant correlates for differentiating between the alveolar fricatives [s] and [z] produced by the second author. This study adds to the existing acoustic phonetic body of knowledge (Hennen and Koffi 2017, Wallin and Koffi 2017, Koffi and Lundy 2017) about the pronunciation of sibilant fricatives in Minnesota English. The findings show that voicing is not a robust cue for discriminating between [s]s and [z]s in word-final positions in the dialect of American English spoken in this region because of very strong coda devoicing tendencies.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Author Bio

Ettien Koffi, Ph.D., is a professor of Linguistics at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA, specializing in acoustic phonetics (Speech Intelligibility). His research interests center around sociophonetic variations in Central Minnesota English, acoustic phonetic accounts of intelligibility in L2 English, and acoustic phonetic and general description of Anyi, a West African Language spoken in Cote d'Ivoire. He is the author of four books and numerous papers covering topics as varied as syntax, translation, language planning and policy, orthography, and indigenous literacy training manuals. He can be reached at enkoffi@stcloudstate.edu.

Michel Lopez-Backstrom, MA-candidate, is a Spanish and ESL teacher in the Howard LakeWaverly-Winsted school district in Minnesota. She is currently completing her MA in Teaching English as a Second Language at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA. She studies under Dr. Ettien Koffi and is writing her MA thesis on the acoustic phonetic vowel space of Northern Minnesota English. She can be reached at a michel.backstrom@gmail.com.



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