Coronal stop lenition in French and Spanish: Electropalatographic evidence




lenition, voiceless and voiced coronal stops, French, Spanish


Lenition of voiced and, to a lesser extent, voiceless stops is widely attested in Western Romance languages. In Spanish, utterance-initial voiced stops as well as those following nasals alternate with approximants in intervocalic position. Acoustic and articulatory studies have revealed factors that condition phonetic weakening. In contrast, very little is known about stop weakening in French. In this paper, using electropalatography, we provide articulatory evidence for the lenition of /t d/ in both Spanish and French. Data obtained from seven Spanish-speaking and four French-speaking participants reveal that, in both languages, /d/ is produced with less linguopalatal contact than /t/, and these differences are strongly conditioned by the position within the utterance or word. The languages differ, however, in the degree of /d/ lenition as well as in some of the contextual conditioning factors. Overall, our results, which should be interpreted with some caution given the number of speakers and the balance of the stimuli set, show that French resembles other Romance languages in its phonetic patterns of lenition, differing mainly in the degree of weakening.


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How to Cite

Colantoni, L. ., Kochetov, A. ., & Steele, J. . (2021). Coronal stop lenition in French and Spanish: Electropalatographic evidence. Loquens, 8(1-2), e080.