Div. of Speech and Hear. Sci., Ohio State Univ., 110 Pressey, 1070 Carmack Rd., Columbus, OH 43210
Taiwanese (Amoy) is one of only a handful of Chinese languages that have a third ``voiced'' stop type contrasting with aspirated and unaspirated voiceless stops at same place of articulation. As in other languages with ``voiced'' stops, the phonetic realization of Taiwanese /b/ and /g/ is highly variable from one context to another. For example, in utterance initial position, they are said to be ``prenasalized'' as well as prevoiced and Zhang [1981, Tai Wan Min Nan Fang Yen Gi Yau] even claims that they are replaced by homorganic nasals [m] and [(right hooked en)] when the syllable is closed by a nasal. The positional variants were examined using oral and nasal airflow recordings from seven male native speakers. Three types of syllable structures were chosen with initial voiced stops in CV, CVN, and CVC. The target syllables are placed in utterance initial position and in medical positions after nasals, vowels, and voiceless stops. Initially, there is clear voicing during the closure, while the presence of prenasalization is speaker dependent. When the target syllables are medially, the voiced stops become nasals when preceded by nasals, and otherwise are plain voiced stops with no prenasalization.