Initial Laryngeal Neutralization in Tyrolean
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In the Southern Bavarian variety of Tyrolean, laryngeal contrasts undergo a typologically interesting process of neutralisation in word-initial position. We undertake an acoustic analysis of Tyrolean stops in word-initial, word-medial intersonorant and word-final contexts, as well as in obstruent clusters, investigating the role of the acoustic parameters VOT, prevoicing, closure duration and F0 and H1–H2* on following vowels in implementing contrast, if any. Results show that stops contrast word-medially via [voice] (supported by the acoustic cues of closure duration and F0), and are neutralised completely in word-final position and in obstruent clusters. Word-initially, neutralisation is subject to inter- and intraspeaker variability, and is sensitive to place of articulation. Aspiration plays no role in implementing laryngeal contrasts in Tyrolean.