The Interaction Between Pitch, Duration, and Lexical Tone in the Production of Contrastive Burmese Nasals.
Math, Life, and Physical Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Matthew K. Gordon
Abstract: Burmese is a language of South-East Asia featuring a contrast between voiced and voiceless nasals. Its voiceless nasals are, however, not completely voiceless—they begin with a voiceless phase and end as a voiced segment. The voiceless portion functions to signal the contrast with voiced nasals. However, other phonetic properties are suspected to be important in the perception of the voicing distinction. This production study investigates durational and pitch properties used to distinguish voiced and voiceless nasals. Results confirmed previous findings regarding the significance of pitch and duration, with additional findings showing an interaction between these two variables and differences in their realization as a function of lexical tone category.