The effect of place of articulation on velopharyngeal opening in Quebecois French nasal consonants
AbstractPrevious studies have found gradations of velopharyngeal opening (VPO) between different types of nasal segments in French, including phonemically and contextually nasalized vowels, and nasal consonants. One study looked at the effect of place-of-articulation (PoA) on VPO and found greater VPO for /m/ than /ɲ/, though this was based on only two speakers [Rochette & Grégoire (1983). Contribution à l'étude des coarticulations de consonnes occlusives et de voyelles en français, C.I.R.B - I.C.R.B]. The present study looks at more speakers and contexts to investigate whether PoA influences the extent of VPO in French nasal consonants; bilabial, alveolar, and palatal. We analysed sagittal videofluorographic films of nine speakers (5 male, 4 female) of Quebecois French from an X-ray database and measured the VPO from a sagittal view using imaging software. Linear mixed-effects models and likelihood ratios tests found that PoA was a significant contributor to the VPO ratio in speakers (p < 0.001) with no effect of sex or speaker. The greatest opening was found in /m/, which was significantly greater than /n/ and /ɲ/. These results contribute to literature supporting a gradation of VPO across conditions.
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