Tsova-Tush "intensive" consonants

Hauk, Bryn
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Tsova-Tush (ISO 639-3: bbl), also known as Batsbi or Bats, is a severely endangered Northeast Caucasian language spoken in the village of Zemo Alvani, Georgia. Tsova-Tush stops have a phonemic three-way contrast between aspirated, ejective, and voiced; additionally, another feature (represented here orthographically by <ː>) distinguishes stops at two places of articulation (dental /tʰː, t'ː/, uvular /qʰː, q'ː/). Some previous descriptions label this distinguishing feature "intensive," but provide no articulatory or acoustic description of "intensiveness" while rejecting the possibility that these could be geminates. This raises the following question, the focus of the present study: what are the acoustic properties of the so-called "intensive" consonants in Tsova-Tush and their non-intensive counterparts? In this paper, multiple acoustic measurements of non-intensive and intensive stops are compared; specifically, total duration, closure duration, and VOT of the stops; intensity during the burst and during the post-burst interval; duration of the preceding vowel; and f0 and H1*-H2* of the following vowel. This study found that intensive consonants had a longer total duration and a longer closure duration than non-intensives, while these stops did not differ from each other on any other measure tested. Therefore, it is concluded that Tsova-Tush "intensive" stops are in fact geminates.
A PDF of a slideshow that accompanied a paper presentation at the 16th Conference on Laboratory Phonology in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 21, 2018.
Phonetics, Sound, Caucasian languages, Linguistics
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