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The role of contextual frequency in the articulation of initial /f/ in Modern Spanish: The same effect as in the reduction of Latin /f/?

  • Earl K. Brown (a1) and Matthew C. Alba (a2)

Abstract

The acoustic energy of 996 tokens of word-initial /f/ in the speech of 38 speakers of Mexican Spanish was analyzed. The results suggest that the frequency with which words occur in phonological contexts favorable to reduction (Frequency in a Reducing Context or FRC) conditions the reduction of /f/, even after taking into account the immediate phonological context. Despite this, it is also found that the conditioning effect of FRC is less robust than the influence of the immediate phonological context, thus confirming the preeminence in these data of the online articulatory factors in comparison to the usage-based frequency factors.

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