Voicing-dependent cluster simplification asymmetries in Spanish and French

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In the present work, we build upon the proposal outlined in Colantoni & Steele (2005b) that asymmetrical patterns of Spanish and French stop-liquid cluster simplification are conditioned by liquid type and stop voicing. Specifically, using data from four Romance varieties (Argentine and Chilean Spanish; European and Quebec French), we show that the longer epenthetic vowel in Spanish voiced versus voiceless stop-rhotic clusters and the restriction of voicing assimilation to voiceless stop-rhotic clusters in French can be explained with reference to asymmetrical stop length as it interacts with consonant sequence timing, and constraints on voicing in fricatives and dorsals respectively. The factors shown to condition synchronic variation can be extended to explain the evolution of stop-liquid clusters from Latin to Romance.


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