An acoustical study was conducted to determine how variable degrees of segmental stricture influence the phonetic realization of a following word-initial rhotic. Four Spanish speakers produced sequences of (x) ## /r/, where (x) corresponds to five distinct points along a continuum of continuancy and the voiced alveolar trill is predicted allophonically. Measurements of duration, relative intensity, and number of apico-alveolar contacts indicate that higher degrees of pre-rhotic stricture promote stronger and more sustainable trills in post-consonantal environments due to increased oropharyngeal pressure behind the stricture site which initiates the vibratory state of the tongue apex and sustains a trilled phone. Degree of stricture seems to be less of a factor for trills occurring in post-vocalic and post-pausal position. The high success rate of trilled phones produced in these contexts is largely attributed to speakers' ability to control tongue position and thus the aperture and size of the air channel.
Proceedings of the 2003 Texas Linguistics Society Conference: Coarticulation in Speech Production and Perception
edited by Augustine Agwuele, Willis Warren, and Sang-Hoon Park
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