This study examines a rare cross-linguistic contrast, that between plain and secondarily palatalized postalveolar fricatives, through (i) an acoustic analysis of the production of 31 Romanian speakers, and (ii) a perception experiment with a different group of 31 native speakers. Evidence of acoustic separation between plain and palatalized forms was found for 27 of the subjects, suggesting that the contrast is produced by the majority. This is consistent with previous reports of native speakers collected in 1961. These findings were supported by the results of the perceptual experiment, which showed that native speakers exhibit moderate sensitivity to this contrast. An examination of each of the two genders' production separately suggests that a process of neutralization may be in progress, more strongly realized by males compared to females. Aside from documenting this phenomenon in Romanian, an explanation is sought for its longevity, and it is proposed that grammatical restructuring offers the best account for the observed facts.
Spinu, Laura, "Investigating the Status of a Rare Cross-Linguistic Contrast: The Case of Romanian Palatalized Postalveolars" (2018). CUNY Academic Works.