V. 60 N. 2 (2022)

Does morphology impact the pronunciation of consonant clusters? Evidence from German

Maria Paola Bissiri
Università degli studi dell’Insubria
Carolin Schmid
Acoustics Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Pubblicato 2022-12-24

Parole chiave

  • phonetics-morphology interface,
  • consonant clusters,
  • phonotactics,
  • Geman language


This study investigates the phonetics-morphology interface by asking whether the acoustic detail plays a role in distinguishing homophone but functionally different phonotactic structures. Word-final consonant clusters included in monomorphemic or bi-morphemic German words (as in Obst ‘fruit’ as opposed to tobst ‘(you) rave’, where the cluster is the result of morpheme concatenation) were produced by native speakers of Austrian German in a reading task; target words could occur in two different prosodic conditions, that is, phrase-finally (where pre-boundary lengthening was expected to occur) or phrase-internally. Significant variations in the duration of the clusters were found as a function of their lexical or morphological status, the prosodic condition in which they occurred, and the duration of the preceding vowel. Moreover, clusters’ status had an impact on how pre-final lengthening was realized. The results are discussed in the framework of the current criticism of established models of phonological representation and speech production.