Allophony of/in peninsular Spanish

Daniel Scarpace, David Beery, Josá Ignacio Hualde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The p honeme // in Spanish is known to have a wide range of phonetic realizations, even within a single dialect. Whereas the influence of different contextual factors in conditioning the allophony of /b d g/ has been the object of much recent acoustic investigation, somewhat surprisingly there are no comparable studies of the voiced palatal obstruent. We report on an acoustic investigation of this consonant in Peninsular Spanish. Both preceding context and stress appear to be relevant factors. We also find an effect of style, with more constriction in more formal styles. The presence of a word boundary also affects the degree of constriction, although to a lesser extent. Although we have identified several conditioning factors in the degree of constriction of this consonant, compared to /b d g/, there appears to be greater variability in a given context, including very constricted, stop-like realizations of // in conversational styles even within the intervocalic context. Whereas our results largely confirm previous nonquantified description, they offer a more nuanced view of the continuum of the degree of constriction in the realization of this consonant and the factors that affect it, going beyond earlier views that postulated distinct allophones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-97
Number of pages22
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Linguistics and Language


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