Variation in Vowel Quality as a Feature of Estonian Quantity

Pärtel Lippus, Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, University of Tartu

The three-way distinction of Estonian quantity is a feature of a primary stressed disyllabic foot. Quantity degrees are realized by the combination of segment duration ratios and the pitch contour within the foot. Additionally, other phonetic features appear to follow a similar pattern, such as vowel quality. In this study, segment duration and vowel quality were analyzed in Estonian spontaneous speech. Vowels in stressed syllables of short quantity degree feet were distinctively closer to the center compared to those of long and overlong quantity degree feet. Vowels in unstressed syllables showed more variation in general, but the difference between the quantity degrees was relatively small.