Perceptual distinctness and long-distance laryngeal restrictions

Gillian Gallagher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this paper, I present an analysis of the typology of laryngeal co-occurrence restrictions based on contrast markedness. The key ingredient of the analysis, for which I provide experimental support, is that laryngeal co-occurrence phenomena reflect a preference for maximising the perceptual distinctness of contrasts between words (Flemming 1995, 2004). An AX discrimination task finds that the contrast between an ejective and a plain stop is less accurately perceived in the context of another ejective in the word than in the context of another plain stop in the word. Pairs of words like [k'ap'i] and [k'api], which contrast 2 vs. 1 ejectives, are less reliably distinguished than pairs of words like [kap'i] and [kapi], which contrast 1 vs. 0 ejectives. The unifying factor of all laryngeal co-occurrence patterns is the neutralisation of the contrast between words with one and two laryngeally marked segments, exactly the contrast that is shown to be relatively perceptually weak.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)435-480
    Number of pages46
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Dec 2010

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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