An acoustic study of coarticulatory resistance in "dark" and "light" alveolar laterals

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11 Scopus citations


This study reports on the results of an acoustic investigation on the effects of contextual vowels on alveolar laterals in two languages, Spanish and Catalan. In particular, two contact varieties of these languages, those spoken on the island of Majorca, are compared. Catalan /l/ has been described as "dark" and Spanish /l/ as "light" or "clear," and these characterizations have been confirmed with acoustic and articulatory data. Furthermore, it has been suggested that pharyngealization (or velarization) degree in the laterals affects their degree of coarticulatory resistance, with pharyngealized laterals being more resistant to coarticulation than non-pharyngealized ones. This is attributed to tighter articulatory control of the tongue body in pharyngealized than non-pharyngealized laterals. This study tests this hypothesis with acoustic data from 10 (Majorcan) Catalan and 10 (Majorcan) Spanish male speakers, and it shows that coarticulatory resistance is indeed modulated by the degree of pharyngealization of the laterals. Importantly, in addition to finding a difference in coarticulatory resistance between the two language varieties, the study finds that by-speaker average pharyngealization in the laterals is a significant linear predictor of by-speaker coarticulatory resistance in these sounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-151
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Phonetics
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Alveolar laterals
  • Coarticulation
  • Coarticulatory resistance
  • Pharyngealization
  • Velarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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