An acoustic investigation of nasal place neutralization in Spanish

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Previous accounts of nasal place neutralization in Spanish have claimed that word-medial nasal codas acquire place features by categorical assimilation, whereas word-final nasals are specified for place by epenthesis of a dialect-particular default value. This paper reports on the results of experimental investigation into the acoustic properties of place neutralized nasals in Spanish. Results confirm that speakers of alveolarizing dialects neutralize word-final nasal place contrasts to [<sc>coronal</sc>], whereas the output of neutralization in velarizing dialects is [<sc>dorsal</sc>]. Moreover, acoustic analysis reveals that preconsonantal nasal codas are not targets for categorical assimilation. In agreement with the experimental results, an alternative analysis is presented in which word-medial preconsonantal nasal codas are underspecified for place on the surface.


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