ASA 124th Meeting New Orleans 1992 October

5aSP12. Pragmatic and semantic contextual effects on the phonological rule of flapping.

Jan Charles-Luce

Betina Lewin

Elvira Ragonese

Dept. of Commun. Disord. and Sci., State Univ. of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260

Previous studies have investigated the phonological rule of intervocalic flapping. Whereas acoustic measurements have shown that flapping does not always result in homophones, the interesting question is why flapping may or may not occur. The current investigation of flapping examines the role of a listener's presence versus absence and the role of semantic context in the application of flapping. Subjects produced such words as writer and rider in two types of passages. In one passage type the semantic context biased the meaning of the target word. In the other passage type, the semantic context was neutral as to the meaning of the target word. One group of subjects produced these passages when a listener was present in the recording room. They were instructed to produce the passages explicitly for the sake of the listener. The other group of subjects produced the passages when alone in the room. The results show that passage type does affect the rule of flapping. Underlying voicing is distinguished in neutral contexts but not in the biasing contexts. Moreover, the voicing distinction is significantly greater in the listener present condition but smaller and not significantly different in the listener absent condition. [Work supported by NIH Grant No. DC00879-01 and NIH Grant No. DC00957-01.]