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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Articulatory Weakening as Basis of Historical Rhotacism

Joaquin Romero, Sidney Martin

Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain

Rhotacism is a well-known phonological process whereby dental/alveolar fricatives /s/-/z/ develop into a rhotic consonant, most commonly a flap or tap. Results of a previous experiment suggested that the simple manipulation of the temporal dimension can cause a categorical shift in the perception from a fricative to a flap. In this paper an experiment tested this further with speakers of American English, checking whether a reduction in duration could change the percept from /z/ to a flap. Results corroborate the previous findings. Some implications for the notions of gestural integrity are explored.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Romero, Joaquin / Martin, Sidney (2003): "Articulatory weakening as basis of historical rhotacism", In ICPhS-15, 2825-2828.