Articulatory constraints on stop insertion and elision in consonant clusters

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This study claims that, in contrast with previous proposals in the literature, essentially all instances of stop epenthesis in two consonant clusters (e.g., [ml] > [mbl], [ls] > [lts], [wl] > [wgl]) may be attributed to the articulatory requirements and aerodynamic constraints involved in the production of the original cluster. The inserted stop results from the perceptual categorization of a transitional closure event. Several mechanisms may give rise to this momentary stoppage of air, and to an intraoral pressure rise which causes the stop burst to become prominent enough so that the emergent stop can be successfully perceived. Apparently exceptional cases such as [nl] > [ngl] and [sl] > [skl] are accounted for through direct epenthesis assuming that l is strongly dark and thus, produced with a back postdorsal constriction. Data on stop deletion in consonant clusters appear to be in support of this production-based explanation of stop insertion. © 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & KG, Berlin/Boston.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1162
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011


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