Spirantization, the process by which intervocalic voiced stops in Spanish become voiced fricatives or approximants, is a quantifiable aerodynamic phenomenon. In the spirantization environment, positive oral airflow indicates a de-occlusivized segment and zero airflow indicates a stop. This study addresses whether or not intervocalic nasal consonants in Spanish undergo spirantization in aerodynamic terms. In other words, are intervocalic nasal consonants distinguished by increased airflow on the same order as intervocalic voiced stops? A circumferentially-vented pneumotach air mask was used to gather airflow measures during intervocalic obstruents from seven speakers of Castilian Spanish. ANOVA suggests that the minimum airflow levels for voiceless and nasal obstruents are not significantly different from one another but both are significantly different from minimum airflow levels during voiced stops. This leads to the conclusion that while trace de-occlusivization of Spanish nasals may occur, it should not be grouped with the phenomenon that affects voiced stops.
Selected Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonetics and Phonology
edited by Manuel Díaz-Campos
Table of contents