Some distributional facts about fricatives and a perceptual explanation.

R. R. Balise, R. L. Diehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Across and within languages voiced sibilants tend to be disfavored relative to voiceless ones. This paper explores the claim that voicing more adversely affects the distinctive acoustic properties of sibilants than those of nonsibilants. One prediction associated with this claim is that voicing differentially lowers the amplitude of frication noise for sibilants and non-sibilants so that amplitude differences between the two classes are reduced. Acoustic measurements confirm this prediction. A second prediction is that voicing has a greater negative effect on the identification of sibilants than nonsibilants. Perceptual results from this and previous studies are somewhat variable, but averaged data support this prediction. The findings suggest that voiced sibilants are disfavored in part for perceptual reasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Linguistics and Language

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