Furthermore, they show that in both aspirated and unaspirated stops, VOT is shortest for bilabial stops and intermediate for alveolar stops, with the exception of the unaspirated stops in Tamil and the aspirated stops in Cantonese and Eastern Armenian.
According to Cho and Ladefoged (1999), there are two ways of considering this: firstly, the cavity behind the velar stop has a smaller volume than that behind the alveolar or bilabial stops; secondly, the cavity in front of the velar stop has a larger volume than that in front of the alveolar or bilabial stops.
If the articulatory velocity is the primary physiological factor for the voice onset difference, we would expect that the VOT would be shorter for apical alveolar stops than for either bilabials or velars, which is not the general finding.
Because the velar stop has extensive contact between the tongue body and the palate, there is a larger Bernoulli force so that the change in cross- sectional area is relatively slow compared with that for the bilabial or alveolar stops.
Table 5:Mean VOT and standard deviation for Pahari alveolar stops
Emeneau demonstrated that this palatalization could also be blocked by a following alveolar in Tamil-Malayalam, but not in Telugu.
It has a near world-maximum contrast in nasals (m, n, n, n, n, n), six contrasting stop positions in deep phonology (labial, dental, alveolar, retroflex, palatoalveolar, and velar), to which two more are added in surface phonology (retroflex affricates and palatals).
On the basis of that distinctive articulation, I knew that Malayalam had at least some coarticulations, which had not been considered usual in South India.(3) The alveolar tap /r/ seemed to be just that, a single quick tap on the alveolar ridge [r].
All retroflexed consonants ([t, d, n, ???, ???, ???, ???] and alveolar [r] are pharyngealized [+low, +back].