The effects of syllable and sentential position on the timing of lingual gestures in /l/ and /r/

Eleanor Lawson, Jane Stuart-Smith

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


This paper is an ultrasound-based articulatory study of the impact of syllable-position and utterance position on gesture timing in liquid consonants in American, Irish and Scottish English. Mixed effects modelling was used to analyse variation in the relative timing of the anterior and posterior lingual gestures for /l/ and /r/ in syllable-onset and coda position and in utterance-initial, medial and final position. Results showed that the component lingual gestures for /l/ and /r/ are coordinated differently in onsets and codas, across the three varieties studied; the anterior lingual gesture tends to precede the posterior gesture in syllable-onset liquids, while this gesture order is reversed for syllable-coda liquids. For /l/, but not /r/, being in utterance-initial and final position results in a significantly increased temporal distance between the two lingual gestures. For coda /r/, prerhotic vowels were found to have a significant impact on the relative timing of lingual gestures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences
EditorsSasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain, Paul Warren
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2019
EventInternational Congress of Phonetics Sciences 2019 - Melbourne Australia, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 5 Aug 20199 Aug 2019


ConferenceInternational Congress of Phonetics Sciences 2019
Abbreviated titleICPhS 2019


  • liquid consonants
  • ultrasound tongue imaging
  • gesture timing
  • sound change


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