15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Effects of Phonetic and Inventory Constraints in the Spirantization of Intervocalic Voiced Stops: Comparing Two Different Measurements of Energy Change

Marta Ortega-LLebaria

University of Northern Colorado, USA

This paper examines the effect of inventory constraints and the phonetic factors of stress and vowel context in the lenition of English and Spanish intervocalic voiced stops. Five native speakers of American English and five native speakers of Caribbean Spanish were recorded saying bi-syllabic words containing intervocalic /b/ and /g/. The intervocalic consonants were evaluated according to two measures of energy, i.e. RMS ratio, and speed of consonant release. Repeated Measures ANOVAS in each measure indicated that for both languages, /b/ and /g/ were most lenited in trochee words, and that /g/ was most spirantized when flanked by /i/ and /u/ vowels. Inventory constraints moderated the degree of consonant lenition displayed in the aforementioned favorable contexts by reducing the amount of spirantization if the resulting sound impaired a contrast of the language.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ortega-LLebaria, Marta (2003): "Effects of phonetic and inventory constraints in the spirantization of intervocalic voiced stops: comparing two different measurements of energy change", In ICPhS-15, 2817-2820.