The production of rhotics in onset clusters by Spanish monolinguals and Spanish-Basque bilinguals

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Rhotics in Spanish onset clusters are typically realized as taps or approximants (Blecua 2001, Weissglass 2011). Trills have also been reported in parts of Spain in which Basque is spoken (Hualde 2005). However, acoustic corroboration for such reports has been unavailable. This study analyzes acoustically the realization of rhotics in this context by Spanish monolinguals and Spanish-Basque bilinguals. It also explores the role of place of articulation and voicing of the preceding consonant as well as the vowel following the rhotic on rhotic realization. Results show that bilinguals produced mostly taps with only a few trills, whereas monolinguals produced mostly approximants. Voicing of the preceding consonant influenced rhotic realization in both datasets, but place of articulation and the vowel following the rhotic did not. Theoretical implications of these results concern the organization of segments within the syllable, the distribution of rhotics in Spanish, and a continuum of continuancy for rhotic variants.


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