Phonetic imitation of t-glottaling by Czech speakers of English

Pavel Šturm (Charles University, Prague) — Joanna Przedlacka (University of Oxford) — Arkadiusz Rojczyk (University of Silesia in Katowice)




The paper focuses on the ability of Czech speakers to explicitly imitate native English realizations of the phoneme /t/ as [ʔ] (t-glottaling). In Czech, glottalization occurs as a boundary signal of wordinitial vocalic onsets. We hypothesize that this allows for a better imitative performance in the intervocalic context as compared to non-prevocalic contexts. However, an alternative hypothesis based on language-external facts (frequency in the learners’ English input) predicts the opposite pattern. Our experiment involves 30 participants in a shadowing task. In addition to words with /t/, words with /k/ are examined to establish if speakers can generalize to a phonologically similar category to which they have not been exposed. Speakers adapted their pronunciation after exposure to t-glottaling to some degree. Our hypothesis was confirmed for the shadowing task, while the alternative language-external hypothesis was confirmed for the post-test task, suggesting a different pattern of performance in terms of imitation versus learning.


adaptation, glottalization, glottal stop, phonetic imitation, t-glottaling




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