As some scholars believe that voicing is only an accompanying, non-phonemic feature and that the essential characteristic in Hebrew is the force of articulation, we were encouraged to check the phonetic voicing in Hebrew. Since final sounds cannot be measured with an ordinary VOT method, we used also the "Voice into Closure" (ViC) method.

Measurements of fourteen Hebrew subjects revealed that in every voiced stop the phonetic voicing extends longer than in its voiceless counterpart Comparing our VOT findings to those in twelve other languages, revealed that in a "voiced" sound there is always longer voicing than in its voiceless counterpart. Some characteristics that differentiate between languages are reported (e.g., Hebrew speakers resemble Spanish and Polish speakers with a large span of VOT, in comparison to the nine other languages checked).

Perception tests of synthesized words (on English, Spanish, Thai, and Hebrew listeners) demonstrated that the voice timing cue by itself suffices to differentiate between the voiced-voiceless categories. While the hypothesis of "force" could not be supported, "voice timing" was found to be an actual physical feature, and it is reasonable to assume that this feature is the main cause of a categorical differentiation in all the languages.


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pp. 143-179
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