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Phonetic practices for action formation: Glottalization versus linking of TCU-initial vowels in German

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)13-29
Number of pages17
Early online date19 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014

King's Authors


New value: 'Pronunciation guides for German frequently state that glottal stops must be inserted before word-initial vowels. This paper reports on a study of naturally occurring German talk in which the phonetic properties of word-initial vowels were investigated. The focus was on the beginning of new turn constructional units by the same speaker, which was hypothesized to be a default location for glottal stop insertion. The data show that 42% of vowel-fronted TCUs do not show glottal stop insertion; instead, vowels are joined directly to the final sounds of previous TCUs. In contrast to previous research, speakers’ regional variety seems to play no role in the distribution of word-initial glottal stops at TCU boundaries, as a glottalization/ linking distribution of roughly 60/40 is relatively consistent across speakers and conversations. The main factor affecting the contrast between glottalisation and linking seems to be the management of conversational actions. Speakers make use of glottalisation of TCU-initial vowels in their design of next TCUs as new actions; whereas vowel linking contributes to the design of continuing actions-in-progress. In a small number of cases, participants use linking to integrate new, socially dispreferred actions into preferred actions. The findings do not support an earlier pilot study of broadcast interaction.'. Old value: 'tbc'

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