Peter E. Czigler
Umeaa University, 901 87 Umeaa, Sweden
Dawn M. Behne
Univ. of Trondheim, 7055 Dragvoll, Norway
In Swedish a postvocalic consonant is phonologically long following a distinctively short vowel and phonologically short following a distinctively long vowel. Previous research has demonstrated that this distinction is reflected in the relative durations of the corresponding segments. In addition, it has been shown that a consonant tends to be shorter in duration when it occurs in a consonant cluster than when it is a single consonant. However, when a consonant occurs in a cluster, it becomes less obvious whether it is a short or long consonant. The goal of this project is to determine whether the short--long dichotomy of consonants is acoustically realized in clusters. Target words were identified in which /k/ occured occurred in four different codas structures: C, C:, Cs, and sC. Native speakers of Swedish produced the target words in carrier sentences and the duration of the closure of /k/ and the preceding vowels were measured. The results demonstrate that the structure of a consonant cluster and its neighboring segments can affect the duration of a postvocalic consonant. These findings are discussed in terms of syllable-internal timing and the extent to which consonant duration varies within clusters.