/p/-driven geminate devoicing in Japanese: Corpus and experimental evidence

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3 Citations (Scopus)


In Japanese loanwords, voiced geminates can be devoiced in the presence of another voiced obstruent (e.g., /doggu/ → /dokku/ 'dog'). This devoicing pattern has been studied extensively in the recent phonological literature in terms of theoretical modeling as well as from the perspective of experimentation and corpus studies. Less well-known is the observation that /p/ may cause devoicing of geminates as well (e.g., /piramiddo/ → /piramitto/ 'pyramid'), although to date no objective evidence has been offered to confirm this observation. The current study thus attempts to test this observation objectively by way of a corpus study and two phonological judgment experiments. The results generally support the idea that /p/ can cause devoicing of geminates in Japanese loanwords; in other words, /p/ may trigger Lyman's Law in causing devoicing of geminates. In addition to this descriptive discovery, throughout the paper we discuss intriguing task effects in phonological experimentation, by comparing the corpus data and the results of the two judgment experiments. Although our aim is primarily descriptive, we offer some analytical possibilities for the /p/-driven devoicing of geminates at the end of the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-77
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Japanese Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • /p/
  • devoicing
  • geminates
  • Lyman's Law
  • phonological judgment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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