Contextual and syllabic effects in heterosyllabic consonant sequences. An ultrasound study

Daniel Recasens, Clara Rodríguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The present ultrasound study investigates lingual coarticulatory resistance for consonants in Catalan C#C sequences. In agreement with the initial expectations, the labial /p/, the dentoalveolars /t, n, l/ and the velar /k/ turned out to be more variable than /s/, the alveolar trill /r/ and the alveolopalatal /ɲ/. Moreover, in comparison to ultrasound data for VCV sequences reported in an earlier study, consonants were less contextually variable as a general rule and this difference was most apparent at the back of the vocal tract in particular for /s/ and /r/. While consonants were generally longer syllable initially than syllable finally, differences in tongue position and contextual variability between the two syllable positions were determined by the place and manner of articulation characteristics of the target and contextual consonants rather than by a trend for consonants to exhibit a higher/more anterior and less variable tongue position when occurring in syllable onset than in syllable coda. Regarding contextual variability, /t, n, l/ showed no clearcut differences as a function of syllable position, and /s, r/ and to a large extent /p/ were more variable syllable initially and /k/ syllable finally. On the other hand, differences in tongue configuration between the two syllable sites were associated mainly with carryover tongue raising/fronting effects exerted by contextual dorsal consonants and with anticipatory tongue lowering/backing effects from the low vowel /a/ following the cluster. The dorsovelar consonant /k/ was found to blend before /ɲ/ in the sequence /kɲ/ but not in the reverse cluster /ɲk/. The implications of the present data for phonology and sound change are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-167
JournalSpeech Communication
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Articulatory reinforcement and reduction
  • Coarticulatory resistance
  • Heterosyllabic consonant sequences
  • Syllable position
  • Ultrasound


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