Zimmerer, F., Scharinger, M., & Reetz, H. (2011). When BEAT becomes HOUSE: Factors of word final /t/-deletion in German. Speech Communication, 53(6), 941-954.

When BEAT becomes HOUSE: Factors of word final /t/-deletion in German

The deletion and reduction of alveolar /t/ is a phenomenon that has been given considerable attention in the research on speech production and perception. Data have mainly be drawn from spoken language corpora, where a tight control over contributing factors of /t/-deletion is hardly possible. Here, we present a new way of creating a spoken language corpus adhering to some crucial factors we wanted to hold constant for the investigation of word-final /t/-deletion in German. German is especially interesting with regard to /t/-deletion due to its rich suffixal morphology, attributing morphological status to word-final /t/ in many paradigms. We focused on verb inflection and employed a verb form production task for creating a concise corpus of naturally spoken language in which we could control for factors previously established to affect /t/-deletion. We then determined the best estimators for /t/-productions (i.e. canonical, deleted, or reduced) in our corpus. The influence of extra-linguistic factors was comparable to previous studies. We suggest that our method of constructing a natural language corpus with carefully selected characteristics is a viable way for the examination of deletions and reductions during speech production. Furthermore, we found that the best predictor for non-canonical productions and deletions was the following phonological context.


Cognitive and Biological Psychology

University of Leipzig
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Dagmar Schrödl
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