Intervocalic lenition, contrastiveness and neutralization in Catalan

José Ignacio Hualde, Jennifer Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we examine the effects of word boundaries on the lenition of intervocalic voiceless plosives in Catalan in order to test the role of phonological contrastiveness in phonetic processes. Here we test the hypothesis that word-final intervocalic voiceless plosives (VC#V) will show greater lenition than word-internal and word-initial intervocalic tokens (VCV, V#CV), since in word-final position the contrast between /ptk/ and /bdg/ is neutralized. Lenition should be manifested acoustically as greater intensity, shorter duration and greater voicing. We find weaker support for the hypothesis than in a parallel study on Basque, suggesting the existence of phonological differences between the two languages. On the other hand, we find a strong effect of style on intervocalic lenition, with conversational speech promoting more lenited consonants. Intervocalic stop lenition in Catalan does not appear to be driven by temporal reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Catalan
  • intervocalic lenition
  • word-final neutralization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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