Stiffness and articulatory overlap in Moroccan Arabic consonant clusters
Post-doctoral Associate, Speech Production,
Acoustics, and Perception Lab CUNY Graduate Center
It has been claimed (Jun, 2005) that patterns of regressive place assimilation in consonant clusters are attributable to the “inherent velocities” of the primary oral articulators involved. The present study used articulatory data from Moroccan Arabic to evaluate whether there were reliable differences in peak velocity or measured stiffness based on primary oral articulator. For the most part, there were not. We also evaluated whether the degree of overlap in clusters could be predicted by the combination of articulators in a C1C2 cluster. Some significant differences were found, but they did not align with the assumed differences in inherent rapidity of the articulators. Lastly, we evaluated whether the amount of overlap was influenced by the relative peak velocities of the closing gestures of two-consonant clusters. It was not. However, when the dynamical control parameter of stiffness of the same closing gestures was used instead of peak velocity, a robust effect on overlap was found. This result suggests that the relative settings of the control parameter of stiffness influence degree of overlap in a cluster, not peak velocity, which is too subject to contextual effects such as movement amplitude.
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