Perception of Breathy Phonation in Gujarati


  • Max Nelson
  • Kelly Berkson
  • Sameer ud Dhowla Khan
  • Christina Esposito


The correlates of breathiness are similar across consonants and vowels, raising a question about whether breathy consonant/breathy vowel contrasts are confusable in languages with both, e.g. Gujarati. We investigate the perception of phonemically breathy Cs and Vs in Gujarati via three tasks: free-sort, AX discrimination, and picture-matching identification. Results from six native listeners indicate that breathiness is indeed confusable: participants reliably identify the presence of breathiness if the acoustic correlates thereof are strong enough, but cannot reliably assign it to the appropriate segment (consonant or vowel), rendering it difficult to distinguish C?V from CV? .