Chapter in:Grammatical and Sociolinguistic Aspects of Ethiopian Languages
Edited by Derib Ado, Almaz Wasse Gelagay and Janne Bondi Johannessen †
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 48] 2021
An acoustic analysis of Amharic fricatives
This study presents an acoustic analysis of Amharic fricatives, an Ethio-Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia. The study aimed to identify acoustic correlates for place of articulation and airstream mechanism, and investigate the effects of position within a word and window location on acoustic measurements. Duration of the fricative noise, spectral moments, zero-crossing rate, intensity and voice measurements were taken in cv and vcv contexts in real Amharic words. The results showed that frequency of peak intensity, maximum intensity, mean intensity, normalised intensity and spectral cog were found to be robust acoustic correlates of place of articulation. The effect of airstream was seen clearly with the ejective fricative /s’/ having higher intensity values, spectral peak location, spectral mean and zero-crossing values than the alveolar fricative /s/ for both male and female speakers. Voice measurements (H1-H2, H1-A1, H1-A2, and H1-A3) were affected significantly by airstream, with the values indicating a creaky phonation of the vowel following the ejective fricative. Position also contributed in differences in durational and spectral measures with fricatives in the cv position having higher values than fricatives in the vcv position. The results showed that duration was not an important acoustic correlates for place of articulation.
Keywords: Amharic, fricative, acoustic analysis, pulmonic, ejective
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