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Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)

A Preliminary Comparison of Estonian and Finnish Plosives; pp. 187-193

Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/lu.2012.3.04

Kari Suomi, Einar Meister


It has been impressionistically suggested that Estonian short plosives are somehow ”weaker” than Finnish short plosives. This paper reports the results of an acoustic comparison of short plosives in the two languages in segmentally highly similar words. It was observed that, both in word-initial and word-medial position, closure durations were systematically shorter in Estonian than in Finnish. In word-medial position, the Estonian /k/ had shorter burst duration than Finnish /k/. Moreover, a large proportion of the Estonian /k/ tokens were burstless, i.e. completely voiced. The short burst of the velar plosive seems to be a specific characteristic of Estonian, which sets the language apart from many other languages.


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