Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non- Continuants

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1 SASR Workshop Kraków 2005 Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non- Continuants Wiktor Gonet Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Institute of English, Department of Phonetics and Phonology. Marcin Kudła Teacher Training College, English Section, Rzeszów. ABSTRACT The present work investigates regressive assimilation in the speech of eight native speakers of English. It determines the frequency and circumstances accompanying assimilation in place of articulation of /t, d, n/ to the following /p, b, k, g/. The noncontinuants assimilated in 55,6 % of all occurrences of the assimilatory context, with individual variability of enunciation being one of the determinants of this type of assimilation. The sound /g/ exerted the strongest assimilatory influence on a preceding alveolar non-continuant, while there were no significant differences in the frequency of assimilation of the assimilated sounds. The findings contribute to the description of spoken English and can find application in improving the quality of speech synthesis. 1. Introduction 1.1. Assimilation: motivation Speakers adjust articulatory configurations at one point in time in anticipation of those planned for next points. As the result of this coarticulation, adjacent sounds assimilate, often to the degree that it becomes difficult to determine boundaries between them (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). Such merged sequences reduce the energetic cost of message production, yet assimilation compliance with articulatory constraints is acceptable as long as it does not violate perceptual constraints. The idea that the use of language is governed by principles which reflect constraints connected with production and perception of speech underlies the functional theory of language [8]. Additionally, perception is aided by phonological, semantic and pragmatic redundancy, as well as extra-linguistic information gathered from setting and body movements. Assimilation is not only an aftermath of the shortcomings of our vocal apparatus, or the speakers tendency to economize on articulatory movements. Kühnert and Nolan [9] state that (...) the fact that the influence of a segment often extends well beyond its

2 W. Gonet and M. Kudła: Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non-Continuants own boundaries means that information about that segment is available to perception longer than would be the case if all cues were confined inside its boundaries. In other words, assimilation may facilitate comprehension. Other factors which are traditionally regarded as determinants of the presence and scope of assimilation at the expense of accuracy are tempo and degree of casualness. As a matter of fact, authors disagree over the relationship between these two factors. Rubach [10] stresses their strong interconnection, while Gimson [11] shows examples of assimilation in casual but slow speech, as well as its lack in similar contexts in rapid but formal speech. Actually, both views need not be mutually exclusive if one takes into consideration individual speaker s precision of enunciation: some people speak clearly as a rule and are intelligible even in informal circumstances; there are people who speak very fast and still enunciate; others have a tendency to speak in a careless fashion regardless of circumstances. Factors that contribute to the arbitrary nature of assimilation include also the mood of the speaker and his current ability to concentrate on the process of utterance. A novel approach is put forth by Shockey [12], who dispels the myth of assimilations and other fast speech processes being caused by any kind of casualness or sluggishness in speech; to the contrary, Shockey claims that most fast speech phenomena are natural in normal speech [12] Language-specific determinants of assimilation It is generally believed that what predominates in English is regressive assimilation. In addition to the natural explanation that anticipatory assimilation must be, automatically, regressive, there is one more point to which its attractiveness can be attributed, viz. the nature of English stress. In English disyllabic words stress falls on the initial syllable, unless the final syllable contains a tense vowel or a consonant cluster This tendency more clearly observable in polysyllabic words, where the antepenultimate syllable (which often is also the first syllable) receives the primary stress even if the ultimate syllable fulfils the conditions mentioned above (e.g..!jpmr?m?ms.). Being uttered with greater force, initial syllables tend to be more salient than the final syllables of the preceding words and impose their features on the latter. Another argument indicating why assimilation in English is more often regressive lies in the way syllables are pronounced and perceived. As Greenberg reports, onsets of syllables are more intelligible than codas. This is because: [t]he auditory system is particularly sensitive and responsive to the beginnings of sounds, be they speech, music or noise. Our sense of hearing evolved under considerable selection pressure to detect and decode constituents of the acoustic signal possessing potential biological significance. Onsets, by their very nature, are typically more informative than medial or terminal elements, serving both to alert, as well as to segment the incoming acoustic stream. [13] One should also take into account stress at the sentence level, whereby the words which are of paramount importance to the message of an utterance will always be stressed. English is in this respect more rigid than the languages (e.g. Polish) that allow freer word order. Consequently, there is a greater chance that assimilation will appear in those parts of the utterance that do not carry new or important information [14]. Low information content items, such as articles, conjunctions and pronouns, which appear often in conversation, are pronounced in a less canonical fashion [13].

3 SASR Workshop Kraków Assimilation of non-continuants The English phonemic inventory comprises three classes of non-continuant sounds: plosives, affricates and nasals. Of the three categories, plosives and affricates have both voiced and voiceless counterparts. Plosives and nasals have corresponding places of articulation (bilabial, alveolar and velar), while affricates are palato-alveolar. It is generally believed that alveolar sounds are less stable than bilabials and velars [11], and that they are more easily affected by the latter two classes. The anatomy of human vocal apparatus may help us to account for this fact. In bilabials, the only articulators active during the production are the lips, while in the remaining two classes the tongue and the palate are employed. Analysis of the possible articulator positions will reveal that the apical section of the tongue is used in largest number of different places of articulation; it is also the most mobile part of the tongue, which may contribute to the instability of alveolars. This observation is confirmed by human ontogenetic development. Since most authors agree that bilabials are among the first consonants produced by children in the native language acquisition process [15, 11, 16], one might assume that these consonants are the most natural or easiest to pronounce, towards which others (read: alveolars) tend to drift; this cannot be said of the velars. MacLeod [16] claims that alveolars are acquired before velars, while Weiss and Lillywhite [15] state that both classes are acquired at about the same time, while Gimson [11] states that during the first stages of babbling, bilabials and velars predominate. In later stages velars are often replaced by alveolars. This could be attributed to the fact that in the early months of human life, the tip of the tongue is not as mobile as in adults, or in older children. Therefore, bilabial and velar articulations are more common, since they require less accurate pronunciation. Only later, when children gain control over the front part of the tongue do other sounds enter their vocal repertoire Goals The aim of this paper is to determine whether or not assimilation is a productive phenomenon, and to examine more closely assimilatory contexts. In particular, as far as the passive elements of the articulation are concerned, the authors seek to determine whether alveolar non-continuants display a strong tendency to assimilate to a following bilabial or velar plosive. In other words, the question is whether any of the specific contexts is more susceptible or more resistant to change ( can claim, could claim or that claim ). As for the context, i.e. the active elements of the assimilation go, one question is which of the two places of articulation bilabial or velar exerts stronger influence on a preceding alveolar non-continuant (e.g. in pairs such as could be vs. could grow and can preach vs. can claim. Another issue is whether word-final alveolars assimilate more to a following voiced plosive or to a voiceless one. Finally, this work aims to find out to what extent assimilation is determined by such factors as the individual precision of enunciation and the gender of the speakers.

4 W. Gonet and M. Kudła: Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non-Continuants 2. Method 2.1. Experimental setup For the purpose of this project, a short narrative, An Eskimo Fable of the Owl and The Raven, was composed. The text contained 43 assimilatory contexts involving non-continuants; further five contexts were provided by Audrey, a narrative written for the purpose of different research. There were several reasons for the use of a written text rather than a real-life natural conversation. First, in order to minimise the inadequacies of a written text as such, the sentences were organised in a fable that created a natural and informal reading environment organised along a plot which inclined the subjects to focus on what they were reading, and thus to reduce attention to how they were reading it. Secondly, the inclusion of dialogue, a conversation-like device, further contributed to the casualness of event and to the creation of more assimilation-friendly conditions. The recordings sessions took place at Department of Phonetics and Linguistics, UCL. The subjects were eight speakers of Standard English (four women and four men). Each speaker was asked to read the texts at natural speed, and none was informed of the purpose of the experiment. The recordings were made in a soundproof recording studio with the use of a Sony Portable Minidisc Recorder MZ R700PC. The data were later transferred to a PC computer, stored as *.wav files (Windows PCM format) and sliced into smaller files, using CoolEdit Pro 2.0. The files, containing one test item each, were analysed with the use of Praat Description of contexts An Eskimo Fable of the Owl and the Raven contains 36 test items, reinforced with five items taken from Audrey (cf. Appendix). The majority of the assimilatory contexts consisted of a word-final alveolar nasal or plosive followed by a bilabial or velar plosive, e.g. Raven cried, red paint, White Gull, etc. Apart from that, two contexts, namely woodpecker and footprints, were placed word-medially. There were also eight test items which included word-final clusters consisting of an alveolar nasal followed by an alveolar plosive, e.g. and kicking, went berserk, etc. Both the nasal and the plosive in these clusters were treated as word-final, since in such cases either both sounds assimilate or neither of them does. There were 20 assimilatory contexts involving /n/, eight of which belonged to word-final clusters. Each of the two alveolar plosives appeared in 14 contexts, which amounted to 28 assimilatory contexts involving /t/ or /d/. As far as consonants serving as context are concerned, 27 of them were bilabial and the remaining 21 were velar Measurement technique In order to determine whether assimilatory processes occurred in the contexts provided, the data were subject to spectrographic analysis and aural verification Plosives Place of articulation and voicing was determined aurally and checked on spectrograms: /b/, /d/ and /g/ were characterised by a voiced closure, indicated by a mellow F 0 bar at about 250 Hz, while in their voiceless counterparts no formant structure could be observed during the closure and hold phase. Moreover, in voiced

5 SASR Workshop Kraków 2005 plosives, formant transitions towards the adjacent vowel were more prominent than in voiceless ones [17]. The best indicators of each place of articulation are formant transitions on the adjacent vowel [18]; each place of articulation has its own characteristic locus for each formant, the most salient of which are those for F 2 and F 3 : bilabials display downward, and alveolars, upward bends for both formants, while velars have upward bends for F 2 and downward bends for F 3. Some authors also add that formant transitions for alveolars are less steep than for the remaining two classes [11, 19]. Another feature which may help identifying place of articulation of a plosive is Voice Onset Time. Different places of articulation have different values for VOT, which increase with the backness of the oral cavity [20]. There are different views as far as determining the exact boundary between a plosive and a vowel is concerned. In the current experiment, in CV sequences the beginning of a vowel was marked at the point of a relatively high intensity of F 1, lower intensity of F 2 and the onset of F 3. In VC sequences involving plosives voicing often continues into the closure even in voiceless plosives [21]. Therefore, the boundary between the two sounds was set at the point where higher formants (above F 1 ) ended abruptly [22] Nasals Unlike plosives, nasal consonants have formant structures resembling those of vowels, although they are less prominent. Actual values of nasal murmurs in each place of articulation vary from person to person, but some general tendencies can still be observed. Namely, the frequencies of nasal formants, and especially N 1, increase with the backness of the oral cavity. Moreover, N 1 bandwidth value for.m. is larger than for other nasals [23]. Apart from formants, nasals also display antiformants, (NZ) or regions lacking in acoustic energy. They are usually set at around 800 Hz for /m/, around Hz for /n/ and above 3000 Hz for.m. [24, 23]. It is often assumed that the best indicator of each place of articulation is the direction of formant transitions on the adjacent vowel, which corresponds to that of plosives [11]. Some researchers, however, give evidence for the lack of invariance of formant transitions [25]. Identification of the nasals was possible through the comparison of N 1 frequencies and NZ frequencies. 3. Results The results of the experiment are presented in Table 1. Speakers are divided by gender, with the total percentages of assimilation for each speaker in a given context shown in appropriate cells; e.g. in /-n#p-/ context, BE assimilated in 40 % of the occurrences of this particular context. The grand mean for the assimilation of alveolar non-continuants in bilabial and velar contexts equals 55,6 %. This figure conceals three variables, namely: speakers (four women and four men), the assimilated sound (/n/, /t/ and /d/) and the context (/p/, /b/, /k/ and /g/). Their potential influence on assimilation will be discussed below.

6 W. Gonet and M. Kudła: Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non-Continuants Table 1. Results of the experiment; numbers in cells indicate percentages of assimilation. Female speakers Male speakers Assimilated Assimilating BE CH JH MW TG MH GH FR sound sound /n/ /p/ /b/ % bilabial /k/ 83,3 85,7 71,4 57,1 85,7 28,5 66,7 83,3 /g/ ,3 33, ,7 66,7 66,7 % velar 91,6 59,5 52,3 78,5 92,8 47,6 66,7 75 % /n/ 70,8 69,7 31,1 64,2 56,4 58,8 68,3 70 Assimilated s. Assimilating s. BE CH JH MW TG MH GH FR /t/ /p/ 33,3 66,7 66, ,7 33,3 33,3 /b/ % bilabial 46,6 63,3 43, ,3 56,6 66,6 /k/ 33,3 33, ,7 66, ,7 /g/ 66,7 66,7 33, , % velar , , ,3 % /t/ 48,3 56,6 29,9 72,5 46,6 51,6 78,3 74,9 Assimilated s. Assimilating s. BE CH JH MW TG MH GH FR /d/ /p/ 33, ,3 33,3 0 66,7 33,3 50 /b/ % bilabial 66, ,1 46,6 12,5 73,3 56,6 50 /k/ 66, , ,7 /g/ % velar 58, , ,3 % /d/ 62, ,5 35, ,6 65,8 54, Assimilated and assimilating sounds It will be instructive to determine if there were significant differences in the frequency of assimilation between the assimilated sounds /n, t, d/, as well as whether the frequency of assimilation was determined by place of articulation of the assimilating sounds. Table 2 presents the data sorted according to these two factors, averaged across speakers. Table 2. Mean values of assimilation (in %) for the assimilated sounds and the place of articulation of the assimilating sounds. Assimilated sounds Assimilating sounds Velar Bilabial Mean assimilated /n/ 70,5 51,9 61,2 /t/ 66,6 48,1 57,4 /d/ 47,9 48,7 48,3 Mean assimilating 61,7 49,6

7 SASR Workshop Kraków 2005 The data in Table 2 show that both /n/ and /t/ assimilated more easily to velar plosives than to bilabial ones, while /d/ displayed a marginal tendency in the opposite direction. Generally, velar plosives exerted stronger assimilatory effect on alveolar noncontinuants than bilabial plosives, yet, as followed from a two-way ANOVA, neither place of articulation of the assimilating sounds, nor that of the assimilated sounds played a major role in the experiment; there was also no significant interaction between these two factors. Table 3 presents the data arranged according to the voicing of the assimilating sounds. Both alveolar plosives assimilated more to voiced plosives than to voiceless ones. The nasal showed an opposite tendency, although the difference was very subtle. Mean values of assimilation for voicing of the assimilating sounds, averaged across the assimilated sounds, show that voiced bilabial and velar plosive exerted stronger influence on a preceding alveolar non-continuant than their voiceless counterparts. Table 3. Mean values of assimilation (in %) for the assimilated sounds and the voicing of the assimilating sounds. Assimilated sounds Assimilating sounds Voiced Voiceless Mean assimilated /n/ 61,0 61,4 61,2 /t/ 63,7 51,0 57,4 /d/ 61,3 35,4 48,3 Mean assimilating 62,0 49,3 The results of a two-way ANOVA showed that the difference in mean values of assimilation of alveolars to voiced and voiceless plosives was statistically significant at p=0,0376, while the interaction between the assimilated sounds and the voicing of the assimilating sounds turned out to be insignificant. In order to find out whether any of the plosives serving as an assimilating sound exerted a significantly stronger influence on a preceding alveolar non-continuant, mean values of assimilation for the assimilating sounds were split both into places of articulation and voicing (Table 4). As can be seen, /g/ was most efficient in enforcing assimilation, which took place in 69,4 % of all occurrences of this sound. Voiced bilabial plosive caused assimilation of an alveolar non-continuant in 54,6 % of its occurrences, /k/ in 54 %, and /p/ in 44,6 %. Table 4. Mean values of assimilation for the assimilating sounds. /g/ /b/ /k/ /p/ /n/ 70,8 51,3 70,2 52,5 /t/ 75,0 52,5 58,3 43,8 /d/ 62,5 60,0 33,3 37,5 Mean 69,4 54,6 54,0 44,6 A two-way ANOVA showed that the differences in mean values concerning the assimilated sounds were insignificant. However, the differences between the plosives serving as the assimilating sounds were significant (p=0,0246), which means that at least one place of articulation departed significantly from the others. A confidence

8 W. Gonet and M. Kudła: Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non-Continuants intervals analysis showed that the difference between /g/ and the three other plosives was significant, which means that /n/, /t/ and /d/ assimilated to a following /g/ significantly more frequently than to /k/, /p/ or /b/ (Picture 1). 90,0 frequency of assimilation (%) 80,0 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 g b k p Picture 1. Confidence intervals for the assimilating sounds Assimilated sounds and speakers With regard to gender, all three alveolar non-continuants displayed a stronger tendency towards assimilation in men than in women, although this difference was nonsignificant, as was the interaction between the assimilated sounds and gender. In order to verify whether individual precision of enunciation was a possible determinant of assimilation, mean values of assimilation, as well as confidence intervals were calculated. The results are shown in Picture 2: 90,0 80,0 frequency of assimilation (%) 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0 GH FR CH BE MW MH TG JH Speakers Picture 2. Confidence intervals analysis for speakers, averaged across the assimilated sounds and context. Mean values of assimilation for speakers ranged from 70,8 % to 25,3 %. Half of the speakers assimilated in more than 60 % of all occurrences of the assimilatory context, two speakers had nearly equal mean values of assimilation, and two speakers assimilated in less than 50 % of all occurrences of the assimilatory context. As can be seen in Picture 2, one speaker (JH) had a low mean value of assimilation; she departed from all speakers but TG. A significant difference can also be observed between TG and the two speakers with top mean values of assimilation: GH and FR. The

9 SASR Workshop Kraków 2005 comparison of TG s mean value of assimilation with those of other speakers would suggest that TG assimilated significantly less than most of the speakers. However, relatively high variability that TG displayed in his assimilation explains the fact that he departed significantly only from two speakers. In order to examine the interaction between the assimilated sounds and the speakers, a two-way ANOVA was carried out; its results point to individual factors as a significant determinant of assimilation of alveolar non-continuants in bilabial and velar plosive context (p=002705), while the interaction between the assimilated sounds and the speakers was insignificant Assimilating sounds and speakers The results of ANOVA presented in the previous section pointed to individual factors, rather than to gender, as determinants of assimilation. There was still, however, a possibility that the interaction between the assimilating sounds and gender was significant. Therefore, the data were rearranged to show the interaction between these factors. Tables 5 and 6 show mean values of assimilation for voicing and place of articulation of the assimilating sounds, respectively, while Table 7 presents the data for all four assimilating sounds. Table 5. Mean assimilation frequency for male/female speakers and voiced/voiceless sounds. Gender Voiced Voiceless Mean gender Male 68,3 50,7 59,5 Female 55,8 47,8 51,8 Mean voicing 62,0 49,3 Table 6. Mean assimilation frequency for male/female speakers and place of articulation of the assimilating sounds. Gender Velar bilabial Mean gender Male 68,7 50,3 59,5 Female 54,8 48,8 51,8 Mean place of art. 61,7 49,6 Table 7. Mean assimilation frequency male/female speakers and assimilating sounds Gender /p/ /b/ /k/ /g/ Mean gender Male 41,9 58,8 59,5 77,8 59,5 Female 47,2 50,4 48,4 61,1 51,8 Mean assimilating sounds 44,6 54,6 54,0 69,4 ANOVA has shown that there was no significant interaction between gender and voicing or place of articulation of the assimilating sounds. The non-significant interaction between gender and the assimilating sounds has shown that men and women assimilated similarly regardless of the assimilating sounds.

10 W. Gonet and M. Kudła: Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non-Continuants Since gender did not play a significant role in the experiment, mean values of assimilation for individual speakers were calculated in order to examine the interaction between individual variability and the assimilating sounds, cf. Table 8. The results of a two-way ANOVA confirm our earlier findings that the differences in mean values of assimilation within both examined factors (speakers, p=0,001838; voicing, p=0,015997) were significant. The interaction between speakers and voicing of the assimilating sounds, however, turned out to be insignificant (p=0,559003). Table 8. The data arranged according to speakers and voicing of the assimilating sounds. Voiced Voiceless GH 84,5 57,3 FR 69,5 63,4 CH 66,7 61,0 BE 72,8 48,3 MW 65 50,1 MH 66,7 48,1 TG 52,5 34,3 JH 18,6 31,9 Mean 62,0 49,3 ANOVA done on speakers and place of articulation of the assimilating sounds revealed that not only were these two factors significant (speakers, p=0,002069; place of articulation p=0,022518), but also that there was a significant interaction between them (p=0,033545). This means that some speakers assimilated more to one place of articulation of the assimilating sounds than to the other. Picture 3 illustrates the interaction between speakers and the two places of articulation of the assimilating sounds, as well as confidence intervals associated with each data point. frequency of assimilation (%) 100,0 90,0 80,0 70,0 60,0 50,0 40,0 30,0 20,0 10,0 0,0 velar bilabial GH FR CH BE MW MH TG JH Picture 3. Interaction of places of articulation of the assimilating sounds and speaker variability As can be seen, velar plosives exerted stronger assimilatory influence on a preceding alveolar non-continuant in the majority of the speakers, while three speakers displayed an opposite tendency (CH, MH, JH). Among all speakers, TG showed the largest difference between velar and bilabial place of articulation. This difference

11 SASR Workshop Kraków 2005 between plosives serving as the context is significant only for GH and TG. One speaker, namely JH, had a significantly low mean value of assimilation of alveolar noncontinuants to velar plosives; she departed from all other speakers but MH. Apart from her, only GH and MH displayed a significant difference in their assimilation of alveolars in the velar plosive context. Standard deviation and confidence interval calculations for bilabial plosives showed that JH and TG departed significantly from the remaining six speakers in the assimilation of alveolar non-continuants in bilabial plosive context. It is also worth noting that most speakers displayed smaller variability in their assimilation to bilabial plosives than to velar ones. In order to examine the interaction between speakers and the four plosives serving as the assimilating sounds, mean values of assimilation were factorised (Table 9). Table 9. The data arranged according to the speakers and the assimilating sounds. GH FR CH BE MW MH TG JH Mean /g/ 88,9 72,2 66,7 72,2 83,3 66,7 83,3 22,2 69,4 Mean /b/ 80,0 66,7 66,7 73,3 46,7 66,7 21,7 15,0 54,6 Mean /k/ 72,2 72,2 56,3 61,1 52,4 31,7 61,9 23,8 54 Mean /p/ 42,2 54,4 65,6 35,5 47,8 64,5 6,7 40,0 44,6 70,8 66,4 63,8 60,5 57,5 57,4 43,4 25,2 The results of a two-way ANOVA confirmed that both of these factors played a significant role in the current experiment (assimilating sounds, p=0,006940; speakers, p=0,000373), while the interaction between these two factors turned out to be insignificant (p=0,133533), which means that most speakers followed the same pattern, although there were significant differences among them in the extent to which they assimilated Summary A number of conclusions concerning assimilation of alveolar non-continuants in bilabial and velar plosive context can be drawn from the analysis of the data. First of all, the experiment has shown that assimilation is a wide-spread phenomenon in natural speech. As many as six speakers out of eight assimilated in more than 50 % of the occurrences of an assimilatory context. All three alveolar non-continuants displayed a similar tendency towards assimilation. As for the assimilating sounds, /g/ exerted a stronger assimilatory influence on a preceding alveolar than the remaining three plosives. Generally, alveolars assimilated more to voiced plosives, than to voiceless ones. As regards place of articulation of the assimilating sounds, two speakers (GH and TG) assimilated significantly less frequently in the bilabial plosive context than in the velar one. Other speakers did not display significant differences in this respect. The analysis of the data showed that assimilation of alveolar non-continuants in bilabial and velar plosive context in the current experiment was determined by individual precision of enunciation. Specifically, some speakers (JH and TG) assimilated significantly less than other speakers. There was no clear-cut boundary, however, between those who assimilated more and those who assimilated less. The gender of the speakers, on the other hand, did not play a significant role in the current experiment.

12 W. Gonet and M. Kudła: Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non-Continuants References: [1] Scripture, E. (1902). The Elements of Experimental Phonetics. New York: Charles Scribner s Sons. [2] Fant, G. (1962). Descriptive analysis of the acoustic aspects of speech. In: Lehiste, Ilse (ed.).(1967). Readings in Acoustic Phonetics. Cambridge and London: M.I.T Press. [3] Jassem, W. (1984). Automatic Segmentation of the Speech Signal into Phone- Length Elements. Proceedings of the 10th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences: Dordrecht: Foris Publications. [4] Fowler, C.A. (1980). Coarticulation and theories of extrinsic timing. JP 8, [5] Fowler, C.A. (1983). Realism and unrealism: a reply. JP 11, [6] Fowler, C. A. (1986). An event approach to the study of speech perception from a direct-realist perspective. JP 14, [7] Gonet, W., L. Kowalczyk, M. Goworek and A. Trochymiuk. (2001). Protrain An Interactive Visual Feedback Pronunciation Training System For Foreign Language And Hearing Impaired Learners. In: Böttinger, K., S. Döenninghaus and R. Marzari (eds). Beiträge der Europaischen Slavistischen Linguistik (POLYSLAV 4). Műnchen, (Die Welt der Slaven. Sammelbände). [8] Boersma, P. (1998). Functional Phonology. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics. [9] Kühnert, B. F. Nolan. (1997). The origin of coarticulation, FIPKM 35: [10] Rubach, J. (1977). Changes of Consonants in English and Polish. Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. [11] Gimson, A. C. (1994). The Pronunciation of English. 5 th edition. London: Edward Arnold. [12] Shockey, L. (2003). Sound Patterns of Spoken English. Malden: Blackwell Publishing. [13] Greenberg, S. (1999). Speaking in shorthand A syllable-centric perspective for understanding pronunciation variation, Speech Communication 29: [14] Hawkins, S. and P. Warren. (1994): Phonetic influences on the intelligibility of conversational speech. JP 22: [15] Weiss, C.E. and H. S. Lillywhite. (1976). Communicative Disorders. Saint Louis: The C. V. Mosby Company. [16] MacLeod, S. (2002): Typical development of speech. <http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/ health/cmhealth/speech/innovations.html> (2004) [17] Stevens, K.N. D. H. Klatt. (1974). Role of formant transitions in the voicedvoiceless distinction for stops. JASA 55 (3):

13 SASR Workshop Kraków 2005 [18] Ladefoged, P. (1975). A Course in Phonetics. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc. [19] Sussman, H.M., N. Bessell, F. Dalston, and T. Majors. (1997). An investigation of stop place of articulation as a function of syllable position: A locus equation perspective. JASA 101 (5): [20] Gonet, W. and K. Różańska. (2003). Voice Onset Time in word initial lenis plosives in the speech of four BBC presenters, Speech and Language Technology 7: Poznań: Polish Phonetic Association. [21] Barry, W., A. J. Fourcin. et al. (1997) Phonemic Labelling Criteria for Copernicus Project 1304 BABEL. Ms. [22] Gonet, W. (1997). Duration of R.P. monophthongs in monosyllabic words. Speech And Language Technology 1. Poznań: Polish Phonetic Association. [23] Recasens, D. (1983). Place cues for nasal consonants with special reference to Catalan. JASA 73 (4): [24] Kurowski, K. & Blumstein, S.E. (1987). Acoustic properties for place of articulation in nasal consonants JASA 81 (6): [25] Goldstein, L. (2003). Formant transitions and the perception of consonants. <http://www.ling.yale.edu:16080/ling120/consonants/ca.html> (2004) APPENDIX An Eskimo Fable of the Owl and the Raven Once upon a time, in the northernmost part of Greenland, where no woodpecker could fly, no cranberries could grow and no human beings could be met, there lived two best friends the Owl and the Raven. They always used to hunt, eat and play together. They were splendid hunters, as they were both as white as snow, and when their prey could spot the Owl or the Raven, it was usually too late. They, on the other hand, had eyes as sharp as a hawk (or one might dare say that any hawk s eyes were as sharp as theirs). There were no footprints, however small, they could miss while patrolling their territory. No rabbit could get away when the two white birds were in pursuit. One pretty sunny day, the Owl and the Raven were having a glass of cod-liver oil at the White Bear s home. You can claim what you want, the Raven said, but there s nothing like good old rabbit. Yes, replied the Owl, unless you are late and it s so old that you can t guess what it used to be when it was alive and kicking. Like that caribou seven weeks ago. Don t you think so? Not really. It was yesterday, my dear Owl. You re getting old. Was it? Perhaps you re right, said the Owl. But you re getting lazy and rather tasteless. How could you touch anything so stinking as that piece of excaribou!? Oh, can t you see it!? the Raven cried bitterly. The narrator can preach about our virtues, but the truth is that we re no longer those young and beautiful birds we used to be. My sight s worsening and I often can t spot your white feathers, let alone game! This is what s troubling my mind too, admitted the Owl, and I m afraid we must do something about it. On hearing that, the White Bear said Why don t you try painting yourselves some nice light colour? But where can we get paint from?

14 W. Gonet and M. Kudła: Place of Articulation Assimilations of English Non-Continuants asked both birds. Ask the White Gull, was the White Bear s reply. He s seen the world. The White Gull told our friends of an island on the Southern Ocean, where all colours had come into being. Go there and bring some light red paint. Good luck! said the Owl to his companion, who was better at long distances. Good bye! the Raven cried and set off. The Owl waited for his friend for eight years. One stone-cold morning the Raven came back with a bucket of paint in his beak. I m glad you re back, said the Owl, but what actually crossed his mind was Where the hell have you been all these years!? And when he saw that the paint brought by the Raven was not red but black, he went berserk and poured the paint over his friend, leaving him all black. In a fit of anger, the Raven threw the almost empty bucket at the Owl, making black spots on his friend s feathers. This is how the two birds got their present colouring. The Owl and the Raven were never seen together again, and the White Bear says they re still in conflict. Audrey That dress with roses has always reminded him about the day he met his Audrey. It was a rainy morning, early spring, fresh air, even birds were singing. Outside, rushing chains of people carried their grey umbrellas, when suddenly he spotted that bright red dress across the street. It was her lunch break so he joined her at that small table in the cafe, where she was reading something. An hour later they were in love. Three weeks later they were married and far away on their honeymoon in Greece. Having Audrey was like having a ticket for a train to paradise in his pocket. She s always been a little crazy; God knows why afraid of spiders, crows and any kind of rodents. She regularly wrote down every single event, every little dream in her diary. She slept with the light on and led a dynamic kind of life, a total opposite of emotionally balanced, calm man he was. And she had to be always right, that was really not easy to get used to. Yet, he just couldn t imagine a better wife and a better mother for their children: they had two daughters, Kelly and Carrie, and two sons, Richard and Derrick. When he thought about the past without her he was sorry for himself. It was a boring life with the level of adrenaline never increasing too much. New life with her was extremely surprising. It was like a wide road, not a single obstacle to the very horizon, they both were in the car, fast and safe. They had a green light to the future and all the bad things were just a shadow in a rear-view mirror. Audrey was a little sunray in the grey reality, she was lighting his way. He regretted his father didn t live long enough to meet her. Poor old man died of cancer, a great loss for all of them, indeed. At least his mother, Jane got to know Audrey and loved her like her own daughter. His brother, Tom, wasn t as lucky as him, living in that horrible farm with a wife, a dedicated shrew, who seemed to literally drain energy from him. Lord, he was miserable. Lately, she had painted their bedroom in some terrible rouge, he repainted it to white, so she did it again when he went to visit their mom, and they were doing this four times in a row until he left the rouge. Poor Tommy, he was such a good boy... But anytime somebody tried to tell something to him, he wouldn t listen, he must have really loved that witch.

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