Articulation of vowel length contrasts in Australian English

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coustic studies have shown that in Australian English (AusE), vowel length contrasts are realised through temporal, spectral and dynamic characteristics. However, relatively little is known about the articulatory differences between long and short vowels in this variety. This study investigates the articulatory properties of three long–short vowel pairs in AusE: /iː–ɪ/ beat – bit, /ɐː–ɐ/ cart – cut and /oː–ɔ/ port – pot, using electromagnetic articulography. Our findings show that short vowel gestures had shorter durations and more centralised articulatory targets than their long equivalents. Short vowel gestures also had proportionately shorter periods of articulatory stability and proportionately longer articulatory transitions to following consonants than long vowels. Long–short vowel pairs varied in the relationship between their acoustic duration and the similarity of their articulatory targets: /iː–ɪ/ had more similar acoustic durations and less similar articulatory targets, while /ɐː–ɐ/ were distinguished by greater differences in acoustic duration and more similar articulatory targets. These data suggest that the articulation of vowel length contrasts in AusE may be realised through a complex interaction of temporal, spatial and dynamic kinematic cues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-803
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of the International Phonetic Association
Issue number3
Early online date5 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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