Yoruba vowel deletion involves compensatory lengthening: evidence from phonetics

Nick Danis


A phonetic study of Yoruba vowel deletion shows that the vowel that remains after deletion is slightly but significantly longer than a short vowel in non-deletional contexts (p<0.001). The experiment controlled for inherent vowel duration and voicing/manner of articulation of the surrounding consonants. Previous phonological accounts (e.g. Akinlabi & Oyebade 1987, Ola Orie & Pulleyblank 2002) analyze this process as full vowel deletion, this account is revised and the process is treated as a type of compensatory lengthening. This also relates to a similar result with Yoruba tone (Ajiboye et al. 2011) in the same syntactic configuration.


yoruba; phonetics; phonology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5842/60-0-753


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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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