This study systematically investigates the temporal organization of American English onset and coda consonant clusters on the basis of kinematic data. Results from seven speakers suggest that consonants in complex onsets are organized globally with respect to the following vowel, while consonants in complex codas are organized locally relative to the preceding vowel. These results support the competitive coupling model hypothesized for complex onsets, a model according to which consonant gestures in onsets are each coupled in-phase to the vowel, and antiphase with each other. The results are overall also consistent with the noncompetitive coupling relations assumed for codas, by which only the first consonant in a cluster is coupled antiphase with the vowel, and any subsequent consonants are coupled antiphase to each other. However, our data also show that the segmental composition of the cluster affects the timing relationship in codas, particularly /lC/ coda clusters pattern differently from other clusters and do not adhere to the predicted timing relations. The data contribute to our understanding of the interaction of linguistic structure and motor control of the articulators in speech production.
The authors are with the Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.