ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

1pSP22. Coda lenition in American English consonants: An EPG study.

R. Wright

Phon. Lab., Dept. of Linguist., UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024-1543

Electropalatography (EPG) was used to investigate the effect of syllable position and phonetic environment on degree of lenition of alveolar consonants in American English. EPG recordings were made sentences in which [t], [d], and [n] appeared in word initial (syllable-onset) position and in word final (syllable-coda) position in V#V and V#C environments. Lenition was measured here in terms of duration and area of peak contact and overall duration of contact in the alveolar region. Preliminary results indicate that, as expected, all three consonants undergo lenition in coda position: all showed a significant reduction of peak contact duration and overall contact duration. There was also a significantly greater reduction in duration of both peak and overall contact when the coda consonant was followed by a vowel. In addition, coda [t] and [d] showed a reduction of peak contact area, and a significantly greater reduction of peak contact area when followed by a vowel than when followed by a consonant. These results suggest that a gestural model of coda lenition should take into account not only the effect of syllable position but also the effect of overlap with a following vowel. [Work supported by Department of Education.]