Working paper Open Access

The Phonetics of Bengali Consonant Clusters

Heimisdottir, Linda Osp

This paper presents an acoustic study of clusters of plosives + sonorants in Standard Colloquial Bengali (henceforth referred to as SCB). One of the goals of this paper is simply to provide an adequate phonetic account of these kinds of clusters in the language since such an account does not seem to be available in the literature on Bengali. Equally important is the fact that descriptive accounts of Bengali phonotactics disagree on various issues related to consonant clusters. It is therefore a second goal of this paper to sort out these differences by collecting phonetic data.

The study focused on two aspects of consonant cluster formation in SCB: (i) which combinations of a stop + sonorant are acceptable clusters to speakers of the language and (ii) which, if any, consonant clusters exhibit gemination of a stop in pre-sonorant position.

Results show that all combinations of stop+sonorant are licit clusters in SCB.Furthermore, we conclude that the pre-sonorant gemination of stop consonants is most likely bound to certain lexical strata in the language.

This working paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see
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