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Bookmark and Share Paper 1716

Contrast Maintenance of Taps and Trills in Dominican Spanish: Data and Analysis
Erik W. Willis and Travis G. Bradley
87-100 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper presents an acoustic examination of intervocalic taps in educated Dominican Spanish and makes a comparison with previously reported allophonic variation in intervocalic trills to determine whether there is phonological reduction and/or neutralization of the two phonemes. Twelve university students, three males and three females each from Santiago (Cibao) and Santo Domingo, produced a narrative telling of the wordless children's picture book Frog Where Are You? (Mercer Mayer 1969). The findings indicate contrast maintenance between the two rhotic segments in intervocalic position based on duration, despite the unique pre-breathy-voiced characteristic of the Dominican phonological trill. Furthermore, the data indicate considerable lenition of the tap segment; roughly 50% of tokens were produced as an approximant, without a complete oral closure. Those tap tokens that did allow for a measurable duration were typically produced within the standard Spanish tap duration parameters, i.e., 15-25ms. The innovation of pre-breathy voicing in the phonological trill is modeled using the gestural representations of Articulatory Phonology. A theoretical account is proposed in which contrast maintenance constrains the development of the Dominican Spanish rhotic system.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology
edited by Laura Colantoni and Jeffrey Steele
Table of contents
Printed edition: $210.00