Acoustic Properties for the Kazakh Velar and Uvular Distribution

Heather Lynn Yawney


Kazakh has an asymmetrical dorsal consonant inventory. Velars and uvulars are involved in two restrictions. First, the dorsal consonants are restricted in their place of articulation depending on neighbouring vowels. Velars appear in front vowel environments and uvulars appear in back vowel environment. Second, the dorsal consonants are restricted in voicing in the stem-final position. Voiceless velars and uvulars appear word-finally, while voiced velars and uvulars appear intervocalically with a following vowel-initial suffix. The existing descriptions regarding Kazakh dorsals contain limited amounts of data, and so an elicitation-based production experiment using nonce words with a native Kazakh speaker was conducted. Different acoustic properties, including closure duration, voice onset time, frication duration, centre of gravity, vowel duration, and F2 values, were examined with the purpose of determining whether the participant varied in their production of target velars and uvulars that could distinguish between place of articulation and voicing. The acoustic properties reveal that the place of articulation restriction is not productive, while the voicing restriction is productive.


Kazakh; dorsals, velars; uvulars; place of articulation; voicing; acoustic properties.

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2021 Heather Lynn Yawney

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.