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The transfer of connected speech behaviours:
external sandhi and glottalization in English-accented German


The aims of the project are to analyze:
1) the extent and nature of external sandhi and of glottalization of word-initial vowels in English-accented German as compared to native English productions, in relationship to prosodic boundaries and adjacent segments,
2) the influence of external sandhi and of glottalization on word recognition by English and German listeners,
3) the influence of external sandhi and of glottalization on the perception of phrase boundaries by English and German listeners.
External sandhi consists in the modification of sounds at word boundaries in connected speech, and it is reported in English and German. Glottalization ceases or modifies phonation by compressing the vocal folds. In German, an abrupt glottalized onset to phonation is frequent in front of word-initial vowels. In English this is less frequent and more likely to occur at phrase boundaries. The interplay between external-sandhi and glottalization is not clear: glottalizations are supposed to take place in absence of external sandhi, but articulatory gestures related to both phenomena can co-occur.
I will build on my previous work on glottalizations, which showed the extent to which word boundary glottalization is transferred in language learning and actively used in perception. External sandhi, which is more common in English, can be “blocked” by glottalization: so English-accented German will be compared to English. Acoustic analysis will be accompanied by articulatory analysis in order to detect a possible co-occurrence of both phenomena. Perception experiments with manipulated speech will be carried out with native English and German listeners, to test the influence of glottalization and of external sandhi on word recognition and on the perception of phrase boundaries.
This is the first extensive investigation of the interplay between external sandhi and glottalization in relationship with prosodic boundaries by means of articulatory, acoustic and perceptual analysis.

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Queen Margaret University Drive
EH21 6UU Musselburgh East Lothian
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 221 606,40
Administrative Contact
Susan Mulhearn (Ms.)