A spectral analysis of the backing of Afrikaans /s/ in the consonant cluster /rs/

  • Otto Ewald


This acoustic study investigates the phoneme /s/ in Afrikaans and its backed realization in the consonant cluster /rs/ in coda position. The study focuses on spectral differences between the two contexts, with and without a preceding /r/, employing two spectral measurements: the center of gravity and skewness.
The analysis revealed a lower center of gravity and a lesser degree of skewness for /s/ in the cluster /rs/, indicating a flatter spectrum with more energy at lower frequencies, pointing at more back place of articulation and the realization of /s/ as a voiceless retracted alveolar sibilant [s̠ ] in this context. Future studies should aim at investigating additional acoustic properties of /s/ as well as /r/ in different contexts in Afrikaans to describe their exact realizations and their interaction in further detail.