Voice Onset Time in Arabic and English Stop Consonants
- Al-ʿArabiyya: Journal of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic
- Georgetown University Press
- Volume 52, 2019
- pp. 29-48
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- Additional Information
This study investigates the voice onset time (VOT) of stop consonants as produced by native Arabic speakers in comparison to native English speakers. In English, there exists a phonological contrast between voiced and voiceless pronunciations of bilabial, alveolar, and velar stop consonants (/p/-/b/, /t/-/d/, and /k/-/ɡ/). In Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), however, while the voiceless and voiced versions of the alveolar stop, /t/-/d/, are contrastive, the same does not apply to bilabial and velar stops (i.e., /b/ and /k/ are included in the phonological inventory of Arabic, while in many dialects, /p/ and /ɡ/ are not). The first goal of the present study was to compare VOT production by native Arabic and native English speakers, examining all of the stop consonants that are shared by the two languages. The second goal was to investigate whether the lack of contrasting /p/ and /ɡ/ in Arabic has observable consequences for the production of VOT for /b/ and /k/, respectively. This project aims to address these goals via acoustic analysis of speech produced by native Arabic and native English speakers.