Segmental and prosodic conditionings on gradient voicing assimilation in Spanish

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This study experimentally analyzes sibilant voicing assimilation in Spanish, i.e. the assimilation in voicing of /s/ before a voiced consonant. We argue that it is only by exploring the effects of both prosodic and segmental material, and their interplay, that the nature of this assimilation can be understood. We show that the variable degree of sibilant voicing is dependent upon the location of stress, the manner of articulation of the triggering consonant, and the type of prosodic boundaries. Based on our results, this gradient assimilatory process is modeled as the result of blending of the glottal gestures for the adjacent voiceless and voiced sounds, and for this reason, the degree of voicing is subject to influence by segmental and supra-segmental information.


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