ISCA Archive Eurospeech 1997
ISCA Archive Eurospeech 1997

Does deletion of French SCHWA lead to neutralization of lexical distinctions?

Cecile Fougeron, Donca Steriade

This study explores the hypothesis that relatively invariant properties characterizing lexical items include non contrastive phonetic details such as the amount of linguopalatal contact, or aspects of inter- gestural timing. We show that, in French, a sequence of consonants resulting from the loss of schwa maintains some of the fine articulatory characteristics of the lexical form containing schwa. Such characteristics distinguish this sequence of consonants from an underlying cluster. Thus, we show that "d'rôle" 'some role', with the apostrophe indicating schwa loss, remains articulatorily distinct from "drôle" 'funny'. A perception experiment shows that the two types of sequences (CC and C'C) are only marginally discriminable by French listeners. However, when the subjects identify correctly the two types of sequences, the distinct characteristics identified in production correlate with the listeners' judgments.


doi: 10.21437/Eurospeech.1997-332

Cite as: Fougeron, C., Steriade, D. (1997) Does deletion of French SCHWA lead to neutralization of lexical distinctions? Proc. 5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology (Eurospeech 1997), 943-946, doi: 10.21437/Eurospeech.1997-332

@inproceedings{fougeron97_eurospeech,
  author={Cecile Fougeron and Donca Steriade},
  title={{Does deletion of French SCHWA lead to neutralization of lexical distinctions?}},
  year=1997,
  booktitle={Proc. 5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology (Eurospeech 1997)},
  pages={943--946},
  doi={10.21437/Eurospeech.1997-332},
  issn={1018-4074}
}