Conference Proceedings

Tense-lax contrasts in Indian English vowels: transfer effects from L1 Telugu at the phonetics-phonology interface

Elinor Payne, Olga Maxwell, Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija TABAIN, Paul Warren

Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 | Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. | Published : 2019


We investigate the effects of L1 Telugu on tense-lax contrasts in Indian English vowels. While English has a tense-lax contrast in high vowels, / iː, ɪ, uː, ʊ/, with duration as an additional cue, Telugu has only a shortlong contrast, /i, iː, u, uː/, though these also have the lax allophones /ɪ, ɪː, ʊ, ʊː/ as a result of vowel harmony (VH), triggered by a following low vowel. We examine whether L1 transfer effects are limited to the ‘base’ phonological inventory (e.g. ‘borrowing’ the Telugu length contrast for English), or whether speakers access the spectrally closer VH allophones from Telugu. The results reveal something more complex, with some speakers showing tense-lax allophones also fo..

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University of Melbourne Researchers