Exceptional hiatuses in Spanish
This paper provides a close examination of how Spanish speakers syllabify sequences of vocoids of rising sonority within the lexicon (e.g., <i>piano</i> ‘piano’, <i>persiana</i> ‘blind’ or <i>historia</i> ‘history’). A survey with 246 words administered to 15 Peninsular Spanish speakers has enabled us to examine in a quantitative way the strength of prosodic and morphological conditions on the appearance of the so-called exceptional hiatuses (Navarro Tomás 1948; Hualde 1999, 2005; Colina 1999). The data in our study reveals that the word initiality effect is not as strong as stated in the literature and that there are large differences between speakers: within the same dialect, half of the informants have the word-initiality effect in words such as <i>piano</i> ‘piano’ or <i>diálogo</i> ‘dialogue’, while the rest have practically generalized the presence of a diphthong in this position. Interestingly, morpheme boundary effects are found in conservative speakers and their conditions differ depending on the paradigm: (a) in nominal forms, gliding is blocked when there is an intervening morpheme boundary and when the glide is a high back vowel (<i>virt</i>[u.Áo]<i>so</i> ‘virtuous’ vs. <i>od</i>[Ájo]<i>so</i> ‘hateful’, <i>act</i>[u.Áa]<i>l</i> ‘present’ vs. <i>cord</i>[Ája]<i>l</i> ‘cordial’); (b) in verbal paradigms, gliding is blocked when there is an intervening morpheme boundary and when the high vowel can be stressed in some form of the paradigm (<i>conf</i>[i.Áa]<i>r</i> ‘to trust’, <i>confío</i> ‘I trust’ vs. <i>camb</i>[Ája]<i>r</i> ‘to change’, <i>cambio</i> ‘I change’). In general, the situation indicates that language change is in progress and that, for some speakers, the presence of lexical items that are pronounced with a hiatus is gradually disappearing. The article presents an analysis in terms of a correspondence-based OT analysis which captures the prosodic and analogical forces governing this process together with the interspeaker variation found in the data.