The Effect of Contextual Consonants on Voiced Stop Lenition: Evidence from Catalan

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Abstract

© The Author(s) 2015. This study uses acoustic energy measures for /b, d, g/ after /f, s, ʃ, l, r/ in Catalan in order to test whether postconsonantal voiced stop lenition is ruled by minimization of articulatory effort, acoustico-perceptual continuity of an ongoing prosodic constituent or some other principle of articulatory organization. Data for eight speakers reveal that lenition is more prone to operate on /g/ than on /b, d/, after a sonorant than after a fricative, and when the two cluster consonants are heterorganic than when they are (quasi)-homorganic. Moreover, a positive correlation was found to hold between the degrees of stop lenition and stop voicing. The /fC/ sequences had an exceptional behaviour since, in comparison to other consonants appearing in C1 position, /f/ was at the same time less intense and triggered more stop-like realizations of /b, d, g/. These results indicate that, while regularly treated as a phonological process, postconsonantal voiced stop lenition in Catalan is subject to much contextual variability, and should be dealt with by a production-based model which takes into consideration several articulatory and aerodynamic factors such as constriction degree and intraoral pressure level for C1 and C2, as well as homorganicity degree between the two consecutive consonants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-161
JournalLanguage and Speech
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • acoustic energy measures
  • Catalan
  • homorganicity
  • Stop lenition
  • voicing

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