A production account of sound changes affecting diphthongs and triphthongs in Romance

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This paper is an investigation of processes of sound change (i.e., assimilations, dissimilations, elisions) affecting diphthongs and triphthongs derived from Latin mid low vowels in Romance. This analysis is carried out with reference to the Degree of Articulatory Constraint model of coarticulation according to which adaptation effects between consecutive segments in the speech chain, as well as their regressive or progressive direction, are determined by the requirements imposed by speakers upon the articulatory structures. Several findings are consistent with this theoretical framework, namely, assimilatory vowel raising in diphthongs and triphthongs appear to be facilitated by a homorganic onglide in accordance with the prominence of the carryover effects associated with the articulatory gestures for/j/and/w/, and dissimilatory vowel lowering is not prone to be implemented in rising diphthongs with a (mid) high front vowel perhaps since the production of these diphthongs involves high articulatory demands. © 2004 John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-197
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Articulatory constraint
  • Assimilation
  • Diphthongization
  • Dissimilation
  • Regressive and progressive segmental adaptation
  • Rising and falling diphthongs
  • Segmental absorption
  • Triphthongs


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