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      Perceptual Compensation of Vowel Nasality in Brazilian Portuguese

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          Abstract

          This study explores the nature of the oral-nasal vowel contrast in Brazilian Portuguese (BP). While vowel nasality is a salient property in the language, scholars differ on whether this property forms the basis of a phonological contrast. The presence of a consonant-like nasal resonance at the right edge of the heavily nasalized vowels (i.e., nasal appendix) leads to an analysis that nasal vowels may be product of a contextual nasalization rule (e.g., Camara Jr 1970, 1971), thus coarticulatory in nature. While most of the literature explores the issue from the perspective of production, the present study analyzes how BP listeners perceive nasal vowels in comparison to oral counterparts. If vowel nasality is coarticulatory, speakers should perceive it as they would other coarticulation; namely, they would perceptually compensate for vowel nasality, attributing the nasality to the nasal consonant element and hearing the vowel as essentially oral ( Beddor & Krakow 1999). If the nasality is phonemic, however, it should not induce compensation. A forced-choice comparison task was presented to a group of 43 BP listeners, who had to compare nasality in vowels of paired stimuli with and without the appendix. Results show that participants did not perceptually compensate for vowel nasality. The substance of the contrast lies in the combination of vowel quality changes associated with nasality and the presence of a nasal appendix.

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          Most cited references 19

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          The phonetics of sound change

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            O apêndice nasal: Dados aerodinâmicos e duracionais [The nasal appendix: aerodynamic and durational data]

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              An MRI study of the oral articulation of European Portuguese nasal vowels

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-5563
                Journal of Portuguese Linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-5563
                27 April 2020
                2020
                : 19
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of English, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, US
                [2 ]Department of Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, US
                Article
                10.5334/jpl.230
                Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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