In Catalan, postnuclear lingual fricatives are maintained before non-rhotic consonants, but loss of the fricative before trills is the norm (Solé 1999, 2002). Drawing from a corpus of Spanish fieldwork data, the present study explores the phonetic behavior of syllable-initial trills after /s/ and in other contexts in several /s/-retaining varieties of Latin America. Results show that non-trilled rhotics are generally more frequent than trills in syllable-initial position. In the corpus data, /sr/ sequences across the word boundary are most commonly realized as a strident fricative rhotic, either with or without maintenance of /s/. It is suggested that aerodynamic and articulatory factors interact with the phonological specification of syllable-initial rhotics, which varies considerably across Spanish dialects (Blecua 2001, Colantoni 2001, Hammond 1999, 2002, Lewis 2004, among many others). Lingual fricatives and trills impose strict aerodynamic requirements for the achievement of their respective manner types, and the degree of gestural overlap between the adjacent segments in a cluster has an impact on whether and how these requirements are met (Solé 1999, 2002). The interplay of both phonetic and phonological factors underlies the range of /sr/ cluster realizations observed in Latin American Spanish and in other Romance languages. Observations based on the Latin American Spanish data can be understood as part of a broader cross-linguistic typology of gestural timing patterns.
Selected Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonetics and Phonology
edited by Manuel Díaz-Campos
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