This paper analyzes the status of weakening of voiceless and voiced stops in Argentine Spanish in order to motivate hypotheses that account for diachronic changes in Romance. Three competing hypotheses are evaluated: Hypothesis A, the system-oriented hypothesis; Hypothesis B, effort-based; and Hypothesis C, perception-based. In order to test these hypotheses, voiced and voiceless stops produced by 6 Argentine male speakers were acoustically analyzed for duration, CV intensity ratio, and percentage of voicing. The results indicate that correlations between the percentage of voicing, duration, and CV intensity ratio between voiced and voiceless stops were not significant. As such, the results do not support Hypothesis A. The lower degree of weakening of voiceless stops vis-à-vis voiced stops, as well as the lack of effect of the following vowel, also provide evidence against Hypothesis B. Finally, the finding that lenited stops become even more lenited supports in part the predictions of Hypothesis C. It is proposed that in order to account for lenition processes, both phonological and phonetic factors should be considered.
Selected Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology
edited by Marta Ortega-Llebaria
Table of contents