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Ngaihte, Chiin Ngaihmuan, Jeffrey J. Holliday and Kelly H. Berkson. 2020. A phonetic investigation of some temporal properties of Paite obstruents. Studies in Phonetics, Phonology and Morphology 26.2. 341-363. 

 

Voice Onset Time has been successfully used to capture stop contrasts in a variety of languages, but much of the existing work has focused on 2-category languages, meaning those with 2-way laryngeal contrasts. Data for 3-category languages remainsomewhat limited. Almost completely unrepresented in the existing literature is the Kuki-Chin sub-branch of theTibeto-Burman language family. Kuki-Chin languages generally contain three stoptypes, contrasting voiced, voiceless, and aspirated stops (e.g. /d/ vs. /t/ vs. /th/). This study presents an instrumental analysis of data from 12 speakers of Paite, an under-documented Kuki-Chin language from Northern India. We report the distribution of VOT across the three stoptypes and places of articulation, along with data that shed light on two unresolved issues in previous phonological descriptions: (1) both stop and fricative realizations have been reported for the sound generally referred to as the aspirated velar stop; (2) similarly, phonetically variable realizations have been reported for two affricate graphemes, <c> and <ch>. As previous reports of variability have been largely impressionistic, the data presented here help clarify the nature of the variation. In addition to representingthe first-ever corpus of acoustic data in Paite, the current work is also, to the best of our knowledge, the first substantive study of VOT in a 3-category Kuki-Chin language.

 

Keywords: Kuki-Chin, Paite, 3-category stop contrast

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