Lenition and phonemic contrast in Majorcan Catalan

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It has been claimed that in Majorcan Catalan /b/ tends to be realized as a stop in contexts where Central Catalan /b/ has approximant realizations. Here we test this claim using two continuous dimensions that we take as acoustic correlates of degree of constriction. We also examine the relative degree of constriction of Majorcan /b/ with respect to /d/ and /g/. We argue that Majorcan Catalan is less advanced in the historical weakening of /b/ than other dialects. Against other proposals, we maintain that a principle of contrast preservation is not required in order to explain the phonetic facts.


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