14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

The Role of Duration in Stop Lenition in Spanish

Antonia Soler (1), Joaquín Romero (2)

(1) Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
(2) Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

The present study investigates the role of duration in the phenomenon of spirantization in Spanish. Spirantization in Spanish is a phonological/phonetic weakening phenomenon by which voiced stops alternate with voiced continuants as a function of context. Recent studies have revealed that some factors other than context may play a role in the phenomenon, such as speaking rate. Our hypothesis states that the constriction degree of the actual realization of the spirantized segment also depends on the speaking rate. To test our hypothesis, an experiment was designed in which the duration variable was controlled for (two rates were used). Acoustic measurements were taken of the target segments, which showed that at the slow rate, speakers tended to produce closer, longer segments than at the fast rate. This supports our hypothesis that a clear correlation exists between magnitude and duration of the constriction.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Soler, Antonia / Romero, Joaquín (1999): "The role of duration in stop lenition in Spanish", In ICPhS-14, 483-486.