Phonation type contrasts and tone in Chichimec

Anneliese Kelterer*, Barbara Schuppler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chichimec (Otomanguean) has two tones, high and low, and a phonological three-way phonation contrast: modal /V/, breathy /V¨/, and creaky /V˜
/. Tone and phonation type contrasts are used independently. This paper investigates the acoustic realization of modal, breathy, and creaky vowels; the timing of phonation in non-modal vowels; and the production of tone in combination with different phonation types. The results of cepstral peak prominence and three spectral tilt measures showed that phonation type contrasts are not distinguished by the same acoustic measures for women and men. In line with expectations for laryngeally complex languages, phonetic modal and non-modal phonation are sequenced in phonological breathy and creaky vowels. With respect to the timing pattern, however, the results show that non-modal phonation is not, as previously reported, mainly located in the middle of the vowel. Non-modal phonation is, instead, predominantly realized in the second half of phonological breathy and creaky vowels. Tone is distinguished in all three phonation types, and non-modal vowels do not exhibit distinct F0 ranges except for creaky vowels produced by women in which F0 declines in the creaky portion. The results of the acoustic analysis provide additional insights to phonological accounts of laryngeal complexity in Chichimec.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3043-3059
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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