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A comparative study of Greek and English VOTs produced by Cypriot Greeks and Greek Canadians

Conference paper
Authors Pagona-Niki Efstathopoulou
Charalambos Themistocleous
Published in 5th Athens Postgraduate Conference of the Faculty of Philology National and Kapodistrian University of Athens 29-31 May 2009
ISBN 978-960-466-056-8
Publisher University of Athens
Place of publication Athens
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords phonetics, Greek
Subject categories Languages and Literature, General Language Studies and Linguistics


This study examined the voice onset time (VOT) of English/Greek voiceless stops [p t k] produced by speakers of Cypriot Greek (henceforth CG) using comparative data from Greek/English bilinguals living in the Greater Vancouver area, Canada (henceforth Greek-Canadians, GrC). The purpose of this study was twofold: First, it examined CG stop consonants, including VOT measurements (c.f. Klatt, 1973, 1975; Lisker & Abramson, 1964, 1967). Second, it was a comparative research of the differences concerning VOTs of stop consonants of Greek and English tokens, between a late situation of diglossia of Greek-Canadians and the Greek/English diglossia of CG speakers (c.f Efstathopoulou, 2006, 2007). Five Cypriot Greek speakers uttered three voiceless stops [p t k] preceding five vowels [a e i o u] in initially stressed syllables in disyllabic CVCV words. Factors such as age, level of education were also taken into account. The analysis of the Greek stops yielded significant differences in VOTs among the Greek varieties studied, attributed to the greater sociolinguistic differences of the speakers (c.f. Ferguson, 1959, 1996; Tsiplakou et al. 2003). Furthermore, the production of English stops resulted in significant differences in the examined bilingual populations. These differences were attributed to sociolinguistic differences among the speakers, to the internal grammar of each variety and to the degree of exposure to English native stops that the speakers of each Greek variety had.

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