Yoruba vowel deletion involves compensatory lengthening: evidence from phonetics

  • Nick Danis Rutgers University
Keywords: yoruba, phonetics, phonology


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.