Acoustic characteristics of Punjabi retroflex and dental stops

Qandeel Hussain, Michael Proctor, Mark Harvey, Katherine Demuth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
129 Downloads (Pure)


The phonological category "retroflex" is found in many Indo-Aryan languages; however, it has not been clearly established which acoustic characteristics reliably differentiate retroflexes from other coronals. This study investigates the acoustic phonetic properties of Punjabi retroflex /t/ and dental /t/ in word-medial and word-initial contexts across /i e a o u/, and in word-final context across /i a u/. Formant transitions, closure and release durations, and spectral moments of release bursts are compared in 2280 stop tokens produced by 30 speakers. Although burst spectral measures and formant transitions do not consistently differentiate retroflexes from dentals in some vowel contexts, stop release duration, and total stop duration reliably differentiate Punjabi retroflex and dental stops across all word contexts and vocalic environments. These results suggest that Punjabi coronal place contrasts are signaled by the complex interaction of temporal and spectral cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4522-4542
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(60), pp. 4522–4542 and may be found at

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