Dept. of Speech and Hear. Sci., WJ-10 CDMRC, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
Acoustic properties of ejectives in an Athabaskan language of British Columbia were examined. Data from ten native speakers were recorded in the field. Following Hogan [Phonetica 33, 275--284 (1976)], prerelease closure, burst duration, voice onset time, and postrelease silent interval were measured. Following Ingram and Rigsby [Proceedings of the XIth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Talinn, Estonia 2, 134--137 (1987)], burst amplitude and the fundamental frequency of the following vowel were also measured. Values were compared with those of homorganic nonejectives (voiceless unaspirated and voiceless aspirated). Preliminary results show that the ejective stops may be distinguished from plain aspirated stops by VOT alone. Ejectives and plain unaspirated stops have similar VOTs; the principal differences appear to occur in the vowel onset and in the prerelease closure phase. Strong ejective characteristics such as those of Navajo [Lindau, J. Phonet. 12, 147--155 (1984)] do not appear to be present. The present findings, combined with those of Ingram and Rigsby (1987) for the contiguous but unrelated language Gitksan, imply that relatively weak ejectives may be an areal phenomenon. Results will also be contrasted with published data from the related languages Chipewyan and Navajo.