Contextual reduction of word-final /l/ in Spanish: An EPG study

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Abstract

This article presents data on the contextual reduction of /l/ in Spanish. Electropalatography (EPG) was used to examine realisations of word-final /l/ in prevocalic and preconsonantal environments in order to determine to what extent articulatory reduction of the /l/ is attributable to coarticulation with following segments. Previous studies using static palatography (Josselyn 1907) describe continuous RELAXATION of the articulatory stricture associated with /l/ in different phonological environments. These descriptions, in turn, have informed standard reference works on Spanish phonetics (e.g. Navarro Tomás 1957; Gili Gaya 1966). Additionally, theoretical work on other languages has argued in favour of syllable-based accounts of /l/-allophony and reduction patterns (e.g. English /l/-darkening and vocalisation), whereas instrumental studies have revealed complexities to these patterns that challenge syllable-based analyses. The findings of the EPG study reported on here confirm that /l/-reduction in Spanish is a gradient phenomenon that arises due to antagonistic coarticulatory forces. Thus, the reduction patterns that emerge in the data cannot be predicted on the basis of syllabification algorithms alone.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the International Phonetic Association
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 19 Mar 2021

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