Bulgarian vowel reduction in unstressed position: an ultrasound and acoustic investigation

Marie Dokovova, Mitko Sabev, James M. Scobbie, Robin Lickley, Steve Cowen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

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Vowel reduction in Contemporary Standard Bulgarian (CSB) has been variously claimed to involve raising, no change or lowering of the high vowels /iəu/. There is a general agreement that the low vowels /ɛaɔ/ are raised when unstressed. This paper directly measures tongue height using Ultrasound Tongue Imaging (UTI) and relates this measure to the acoustic correlate F1 at vowel midpoint. The six vowels of CSB were paired with respect to frontness (/ɛ, i/, /a, ə/, /ɔ, u/), and the overlap in height of the unstressed lower vowel in each pair was assessed relative to (a) its stressed counterpart and (b) the stressed and (c) unstressed realisations of the lower vowel. There was no evidence of the higher unstressed vowel in each pair being different from its stressed counterpart. The articulatory and acoustic results are not completely aligned, but both diverge from the traditional model of vowel reduction in CSB.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
EditorsSasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain, Paul Warren
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780646800691
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2019


  • Bulgarian
  • neutralization
  • reduction
  • ultrasound imaging
  • acoustics
  • stress
  • articulation


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