7

When I compare the plosive sounds in an IPA table with recordings (like this or this), the sound of [c] stands out to me as noisier and more turbulent than the rest of the series [p, t, ʈ, k, q, ʔ]. In fact it sounds to me almost like an affricate such as [t͡ɕ]. The same goes to their voiced counterparts.

  1. Is there any fundament to my subjective impression?
  2. If so, is there an articulatory reason why [c] has to sound burstier than the other stops? Is it possible to produce a ‘clean’ and purely palatal [c] stop?
  • You should not base your analysis or impression from these sound examples. They don't reflect the sounds that are supposed to describe. – amegnunsen Nov 12 at 19:42
7

Having acoustically inspected these tokens as well as online tokens from Esling and Ladefoged, I notice that all performers have a longer voice onset time (around 20 msc, varying according to performer and context, greater in the [aCa] context) in production of [c], and it is filled with identifiable fricative-like noise. The best source is the Esling chart (the Ladefoged tokens seems to have suffered re-formatting artifacts). So it's not all in your head. Given the nature of the palatal constriction, it is predictable that there will be a longer narrow channel when the constriction is released, and the articulator is most massive (moves slower). There is also a lesser such effect with the uvulars.

  • That's an interesting point or two. But it'll be completely lost on most readers (including linguists) if you don't unpack it in an empathetic way. – Araucaria Nov 11 at 22:25
  • @Araucaria FWIW I got most of it on the first reading and 95% of it on the second, and I'm like amateur-intermediate level. – wjandrea Nov 12 at 3:04
  • @wjandrea Good! You'll have noticed then that 98% of the answer is in this bit: "Given the nature of the palatal constriction, it is predictable that there will be a longer narrow channel when the constriction is released, and the articulator is most massive", and that 90% of that is in "the nature of the palatal". That might not be lost on you, but it will be on some readers, if not most. The rest of the answer just means, "yep, your ears aren't wrong". – Araucaria Nov 12 at 5:13
  • @wjandrea In other words, why would the reader predict it? – Araucaria Nov 12 at 5:16
  • re: uvulars: Catford's Practical Phonetics includes this note: «[an] observation you may make is that the release of the velar [k] is relatively ‘clean’, while that of [q] is more ‘sloppy’. This is because the convex tongue-surface can break away from the whole contact-area of the concave velar surface almost instantaneously but separation from the more flexible and irregular surface of the extreme back of the velum, including the uvula, is less instantaneous, less clean-cut». – melissa_boiko Nov 12 at 13:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.