chapter  3
58 Pages

A SYM M ETR IES IN PRO DUCTION

In Chapter 2 I examined the phonotactic patterns of contrastive palatalization. I established the facts about cross-linguistic phonological asymmetries in terms of palatalization (plain vs. palatalized), place of articulation (palatalized labial vs. palatalized coronal), and position (more vs. less favorable environments). The main finding was that some consonants are more likely to undergo the neutralization than others and that some environments tend to support the plain/palatalized contrast better than others. I showed that these asymmetries can be either categorical or quantitative in nature. In this chapter I begin my investigation of the phonetic factors that underlie these asymmetries. This chapter focuses primarily on the articulation of the contrast, the first component of our model of neutralization (Figure 1). I investigate articulatory gestures involved in the production of Russian plain and palatalized stops, and how these are affected in various environments. The chapter also discusses acoustic realizations of articulatory gestures, the second component of the model. Recall from the previous chapter that we expect to find articulatory and acoustic asymmetries between plain and palatalized stops, between palatalized labials and coronals, and between various environments. With respect to the latter, the contrast should be most robust at the levels of articulation and acoustics in the syllable onset position and least salient in the coda before a palatalized stop, particularly, a homorganic one.