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6. Main Phonological Processes


Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Phonology

Key-Topics grammar

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00008.x


In his illuminating discussion of the vowel and consonant systems in human languages, Ladefoged (2005 : 4) points out that “two factors, articulatory ease and auditory distinctiveness, are the principal constraints on how the sounds of languages develop.” The type of phonological phenomenon that most typically reflects ease of articulation is segmental assimilation. This chapter deals primarily with assimilatory phenomena found in the segmental phonology of Spanish. It surveys four types of assimilatory processes that have engendered the most theoretical interest in the relatively recent literature. Some of them arise by partial assimilation, such as homorganic nasal and lateral assimilation, spirantization, and voicing assimilation; others involve complete assimilation (gemination), including gemination induced by/s/-deletion in Andalusian Spanish and complete assimilation of syllable-final liquids in Cuban Spanish. This chapter is organized as follows. Partial assimilation phenomena in Spanish are discussed in Sections 2–4: Section 2 deals with homorganic nasal and lateral assimilation; Section 3 examines the spirantization voiced obstruents; and Section 6.4, voicing assimilation of coda obstruents. Section 5 analyzes two types of complete consonant assimilation found in the Andalusian and Cuban varieties of Spanish. Finally, Section 6 presents some concluding remarks. Spanish ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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