ARI guest talk by Felicitas Kleber, Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Wednesday, 11th of December 2013
Seminar room of the OEAW, 1040 Wien, Wohllebengasse 12-14, ground floor
The Central Bavarian Lenition rule states that long vowels are always followed by lenis stops with a short closure phase and short vowels only precede fortis stops with a long closure phase. Thus, according to this rule, vowel quality and stop voicing are correlated and long and short vowels cannot be combined freely with voiced and voiceless stops. The main aim of the study was to investigate the extent to which younger and older speakers from the Central Bavarian dialect region neutralize or maintain the Standard German phonological vowel length opposition before fortis stops in production and perception and in comparison to our control group of Upper Saxon speakers. We predicted that younger speakers of Central Bavarian tend to produce a more standard-‐ like pronunciation (that allows free combination of long and short vowels with fortis stops) than older speakers based on the general assumption of dialect levelling in the direction of Standard German. Our results show that the extent to which the phonological contrast is maintained depends on both the speakers’ regional background and age. The results point to a sound change in progress. The findings can be best modelled in an exemplar framework.