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Affricating ejective fricatives: The case of Tigrinya

  • Ryan K. Shosted (a1) and Sharon Rose (a2)

Abstract

The production of an ejective fricative involves an aerodynamic dilemma. An ejective requires increased intraoral air pressure, while a fricative requires air to be continuously vented through a narrow constriction. This venting may defeat the pressure increase. Because ejectivity is realized by forming a complete oral closure, we hypothesize that complete closure (i.e. affrication) may also typify ejective fricatives in some languages. We test this hypothesis through an acoustic production experiment with speakers of Tigrinya. We find substantial evidence that Tigrinya /s’/ is commonly realized as [ts’] and comment on the plausibility of affrication as a general strategy for the realization of ejective fricatives.

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