[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study is an acoustic investigation of the nature and extent of consonant voicing of the stop /b/ in two dialectal varieties of American English spoken in south-central Wisconsin and western North Carolina. The stop /b/ occurred at the juncture of two words such as small bids, in a position between two voiced sonorants, i.e. the liquid /l/ and a vowel. Twenty women participated, ten representing the Wisconsin and ten the North Carolina variety, respectively. Significant dialectal differences were found in the voicing patterns. The Wisconsin stop closures were usually not fully voiced and terminated in a complete silence followed by a closure release whereas North Carolina speakers produced mostly fully voiced closures. Further dialectal differences included the proportion of closure voicing as a function of word emphasis. For Wisconsin speakers, the proportion of closure voicing was smallest when the word was emphasized and it was greatest in non-emphatic positions. For North Carolina speakers, the degree of word emphasis did not have an effect on the proportion of closure voicing. The results suggest different mechanisms by which closure voicing is maintained in these two dialects, pointing to active articulatory maneuvers in North Carolina speakers and passive in Wisconsin speakers.
Journal of the International Phonetic Association 01/2009; 39(3):313-334. · 0.50 Impact Factor