Rhotic contrasts in Arabana

Michael Carne, Juqiang Chen, Ellison Luk, Sydney Strangways, Clara Stockigt, Robert Mailhammer, Mark Harvey

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Arabana has a three-way rhotic phoneme contrast: /r/ (alveolar trill) vs /ɾ/ (alveolar tap) vs /ɻ/ (retroflex continuant). The rhotic contrasts are prosodically restricted in Arabana. The triple contrast only appears following the tonic vowel, which is the first vowel. In other onset positions /ɻ/ is contrastive, but there is no /r/ vs /ɾ/ contrast. There is no contrast in coda positions. We undertook the first-ever production study of Arabana rhotics. Recorded audio materials were independently coded in PRAAT by two trained transcribers. We found the following allophony: /r/ [r, ɾ, ɹ]; /ɾ/ [ɾ, ɹ], /ɻ/ [ɻ]. The /r/ vs /ɾ/ contrast is thus negatively determined, /r/ permits [r] realizations, but /ɾ/ does not. The commonest realization of both /r/ and /ɾ/ is [ɹ]. The phoneme in neutralized coda position is /r/. The high degree of overlap in realizations between /r/ and /ɾ/ accords with reported perception difficulties.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    Event19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, ICPhS 2019 - Melbourne, Australia
    Duration: 1 Jan 2019 → …


    Conference19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, ICPhS 2019
    Period1/01/19 → …

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