Past work investigating the lingual articulation of devoiced vowels in Tokyo Japanese has revealed optional but categorical deletion. Some devoiced vowels retained a full lingual target, just like their voiced counterparts, whereas others showed trajectories that are best modelled as targetless, i.e., linear interpolation between the surrounding vowels. The current study explored the hypothesis that this probabilistic deletion is modulated by the identity of the surrounding consonants. A new EMA experiment with an extended stimulus set replicates the core finding of Shaw, Jason & Shigeto Kawahara. 2018b. The lingual gesture of devoiced [u] in Japanese. Journal of Phonetics 66. 100-119. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wocn.2017.09.007 that Japanese devoiced [u] sometimes lacks a tongue body raising gesture. The current results moreover show that surrounding consonants do indeed affect the probability of tongue dorsum targetlessness. We found that deletion of devoiced vowels is affected by the place of articulation of the preceding consonant; deletion is more likely following a coronal fricative than a labial fricative. Additionally, we found that the manner combination of the flanking consonants, fricative-fricative versus fricative-stop, also has an effect, at least for some speakers; however, unlike the effect of C1 place, the direction of the manner combination effect varies across speakers with some deleting more often in fricative-stop environments and others more often in fricative-fricative environments.
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