Project Advisor(s)

Dr. Jeffrey Renaud

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Disciplines

Latin American Languages and Societies | Linguistics | Modern Languages | Phonetics and Phonology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Dialectal surveys of Latin American Spanish (Perissinotto 1975, Resnick 1975) describe three main possible pronunciations for fu (fuego 'fire') and fo (foco 'focus') sequences: faithful [f], velarized [x], and bilabialized [ɸ], in order of frequency. While the velar realization has received phonetic and theoretical consideration (Lipski 1995, Mazzaro 2011), little is understood about the voiceless bilabial fricative [ɸ] in Spanish. This paper describes a three-part production study to uniformly account for the unfaithful velar and bilabial realizations.

Mazzaro (2011) explains the velar [x] variant by arguing that, given the acoustic similarity of, e.g., [fu]/[xu], listeners misperceive a speaker's intended [fu] as [xu] and will, in subsequent speech, articulate [xu] instead. Coarticulatory accounts, however, would argue that, given the backness of the vowel, speakers retract the fricative from labiodental [f] to velar [x]. (In the case of bilabial [ɸ], speakers assimilate lip-roundedness.) If (mis)perception were the sole motivating factor, we would expect discrete points of articulation in the [xu], [xo], [ɸu], and [ɸo] pronunciations, as opposed to a high degree of coarticulation under an assimilatory account. Based on the phonetic analysis of 1457 recorded fricatives from four (4) Chilean and four (4) Mexican Spanish speakers, I argue that the coarticulation found suggests assimilation and undermines an exclusively perceptual account.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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Coarticulation in Two Fricative-Vowel Sequences of Latin American Spanish

Dialectal surveys of Latin American Spanish (Perissinotto 1975, Resnick 1975) describe three main possible pronunciations for fu (fuego 'fire') and fo (foco 'focus') sequences: faithful [f], velarized [x], and bilabialized [ɸ], in order of frequency. While the velar realization has received phonetic and theoretical consideration (Lipski 1995, Mazzaro 2011), little is understood about the voiceless bilabial fricative [ɸ] in Spanish. This paper describes a three-part production study to uniformly account for the unfaithful velar and bilabial realizations.

Mazzaro (2011) explains the velar [x] variant by arguing that, given the acoustic similarity of, e.g., [fu]/[xu], listeners misperceive a speaker's intended [fu] as [xu] and will, in subsequent speech, articulate [xu] instead. Coarticulatory accounts, however, would argue that, given the backness of the vowel, speakers retract the fricative from labiodental [f] to velar [x]. (In the case of bilabial [ɸ], speakers assimilate lip-roundedness.) If (mis)perception were the sole motivating factor, we would expect discrete points of articulation in the [xu], [xo], [ɸu], and [ɸo] pronunciations, as opposed to a high degree of coarticulation under an assimilatory account. Based on the phonetic analysis of 1457 recorded fricatives from four (4) Chilean and four (4) Mexican Spanish speakers, I argue that the coarticulation found suggests assimilation and undermines an exclusively perceptual account.