Prominence and spectral variance in Assamese

Charles Redmon and Bipasha Patgiri (2012)
Paper presented at the 34th All India Conference of Linguists

This project sought to address the interaction between vowel reduction in unstressed syllables and vowel harmony in Assamese by examining whether unstressed syllables were marked by a directional change in quality (in F1-F2 space) or rather simply by an overall greater variance in the formant realization of the vowel (as predicted in Lindblom, 1963). No overall differences in elliptical spread in F1-F2 space were found between stressed and unstressed vowels, but variance in particular formants was evident and crucially dependent on the vowel. For the high front vowel /i/, F2 variance was greater in unstressed than in stressed productions, and for the low back vowel /a/ F1 variance was greater for unstressed than stressed.