On the origin and evolution of the contrast between tautosyllabic and heterosyllabic sequences of vocoids in Romance - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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PaPI 2005 Barcelona. On the origin and evolution of the contrast between tautosyllabic and heterosyllabic sequences of vocoids in Romance. Ioana Chitoran José Ignacio Hualde Dartmouth CollegeUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign USA.

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On the origin and evolution of the contrast between tautosyllabic and heterosyllabic sequences of vocoids in Romance

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Papi 2005 barcelona

PaPI 2005 Barcelona

On the origin and evolution of the contrast between tautosyllabic and heterosyllabic sequences of vocoids in Romance

Ioana Chitoran José Ignacio Hualde

Dartmouth CollegeUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Cross romance typology of glide vowel variability

Cross-Romance typology of glide-vowel variability


  • Understanding the presence or absence of variability in the production of vocalic sequences (iV, jV)in Romance languages.

  • The comparative study of variability provides an insight into the historical evolution of a phonological system.


    Variability is related to:

  • The presence of the glide [j] from other historical sources

  • The effects of prosodic structure on the realization of linguistic units

Papi 2005 barcelona

Latin iV sequences

Catalan, Portuguese





[medjan] ‘median’[italjana][italjana]‘Italian’f.



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Historical diphthongs

Latin /’ptra/

French SpanishRomanianPortuguese

p[j]rrep[je]dra p[ja]tr«p[]dra

  • Standard French: iV sequences contract to jV, merging with historical diphthongs

    Exceptions: after complex onsets (l[j]er vs. pl[i].er); across a morpheme boundary (tr[wa] ‘three’ vs. tr[u.a] ‘he dug’)

  • Castilian Spanish: iV sequences contract to jV, merging with diphthongs

    Exceptions:across a morpheme boundary (boqu[i-a]ncho)(Navarro Tomás 1977;Hualde 1997); paradigmatic effects (l[i.á]mos ‘we tie’ cf. l[í.a]s ‘you tie’; sometimes in word-initial position;Aguilar 1999; Colina 1999; Hualde & Prieto 2002; Chitoran & Hualde 2002)

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  • Romanian: iV maintained, contrast with historical diphthongs jV (Chitoran 2001; Chitoran & Hualde 2002)

  • Portuguese:

    - no historical diphthongs

    - iV maintained, jV possible in casual/fast speech(Mateus & d’Andrade 2000; Mateus et al.2003)

    Same scenario for Catalan (Cabré & Prieto 2004)

Differences in historical details

Differences in historical details


Diphthongs in limited context, after labials:

PETRA > pjatr«‘stone’

Palatalization of coronals and velars, glide absorbtion:

TERRA > tsar«‘land’

SEPTEM > Sapte‘seven’

DECEM > zetSe‘ten’

Other sources of glides

Other sources of glides

Romanian and Italian

Stop-liquid clusters:

PLENA > It. pjena‘full’ f.

CLAMARE > It. kjamare‘to call’

Rom. kjema

Iv sequences

iV sequences

Diphthong production (jV) vs. hiatus sequence production (iV)

  • Native speaker syllabification judgments:

    • tautosyllabic (jV) vs. heterosyllabic (i.V)

  • Acoustic duration:

    • shorter vs. longer duration

      (Hualde & Prieto 1999, Chitoran & Hualde 2002)

Effects of prosodic structure

Effects of prosodic structure

  • Lengthening at prosodic boundaries (in a syllable onset at word and phrase boundary)

    • e.g., Fougeron & Keating 1997, Turk & Shattuck-Hufnagel 2000, Fougeron 2001, Cho & Keating 2001

  • Relative timing of gestures is affected by the

  • proximity of prosodic boundaries

    • Byrd 2000

Romance vocalic sequences two types of prosodic effects

Romance vocalic sequencesTwo types of prosodic effects

  • Position in the word

    • Sequences tend to be longer word-initially than word-internally

  • Position with respect to stress

    • Sequences tend to be longer the closer they are to the main stress syllable, preceding it

Word position effect romanian

Word position effect – Romanian

- 4 speakers, 7 repetitions, total 560 words

  • Control for stress, no of syllables, segmental context

  • Measured: acoustic duration of iV sequence (Praat)

    Carrier phrase: Spúne __ de trei órj‘say __ three times’


    (orthography)ca-n pióncampión

    ce pióscopiós

    ce viábilserviábil

    din Diánamediána

    vezj tiárevestiáre

    si ca liánaitaliána

Results romanian

Results – Romanian

iV sequences longer word-initially than medially (p<.0001)

Word position and stress castilian spanish

Word position and stressCastilian Spanish

  • 4 speakers, 4 repetitions, total 528 words

    Carrier phrase: Dígo __ porque sí‘I say __ just so’





    italiána‘Italian’ f.



Results spanish initial stressed medial stressed initial unstressed p 001

Results – Spanish initial-stressed > medial-stressed > initial-unstressed(p<.001)

Word position effect french

Word position effect – French

5 speakers, 7 repetitions, total 630 words

Carrier phrase:Dis-nous __ de nouveau‘tell us __ again’


(orthography)une pionnechampionne

la violeraviole

le diols’étiole

ta nielleDanielle

mes Dianesmédiane

tes lierresbélière

ta liassealias

Results french

Results – French

iV sequences longer word-initially than medially (p<.05)

Portuguese no word position effect

Portuguese – No word position effect

European Portuguese (EP)Brazilian Portuguese (BP)

  • 4 speakers, 7 repetitions- 5 speakers, 3 repetitions

  • total 502 words- total 269 words

    Carrier phrase: Digo ___ porque sim‘I say __ just so’


    (orthography)a lianaaliada

    que viavelenviavel

    da Dianamediana

    a miadaamealha

    No word position effect (p > .05)

Cross romance patterns

Cross-Romance patterns

Different patterns with respect to “degree of contrast” between glides and vowels

glide / vowel contrast



Frenchno- all glides

Portugueseno- all vowels


  • The presence of glides (diphthongs) from other historical sources

  • Prosodic effects on the duration of vocalic sequences

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Presence of diphthongsContrastPosition effect

(initial / internal)

Frenchyesno(p < .05)

Spanishyespartial(p < .001)

Romanianyes, but inyes(p < .0001)limited context

Portuguesenonono position effect

Proximity to stress effects

Proximity to stress effects

  • Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese

    Immediately pretonic syllables tend to have greater duration than other unstressed syllables further to the left(Hualde & Chitoran 2003)

    stressed# V*  #

    pretonic# V*  #

    pre-pretonic# V * #* indicates stress

Proximity to stress effects in iv sequences

Proximity to stress effects in iV sequences

  • Same speakers (3 Spanish, 4 Romanian, 4 EP, 5 BP)

  • Same carrier phrase, randomized list

  • Measured duration of word-initial iV sequence










stressed > pretonic > pre-pretonic2 Sp, 2 R, 1 EP

stressed > pretonic, pre-pretonic1 Sp, 1 R, 3 EP

stressed, pretonic > pre-pretonic1 R

(p < .05)

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European Portuguese

stressed > pretonic > pre-pretonicp < .05

BPword-internal:stressed > pretonic > pre-pretonic

word-initial:stressed > pretonic, pre-pretonic p < .0001

Proximity to stress effects in vowels

Proximity to stress effects in vowels

  • Same speakers

  • Test words: 5 triplets (Sp), 6/7 (Rom), 7 pairs (EP), contrasting in location of stress

  • Measure duration of vowel in word-initial syllable








Results spanish

Results – Spanish

stressed > pretonic > pre-pretonic3 speakers(p < .05)

Results romanian1

Results – Romanian

stressed > pretonic > pre-pretonic3 speakers

stressed > pretonic, pre-pretonic 1 speaker

(p < .05)

Results european portuguese

Results – European Portuguese

pretonic > pre-pretonic3 speakers(p <. 05)

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  • Vowels in immediately pretonic syllables tend to be longer than other earlier vowels

    (at least in words bearing pitch accent)

  • The duration differences correlate with the distribution of heterosyllabic vowel sequences (exceptions) in Spanish. These exceptions are reported for the most part in stressed and pretonic syllables.

Distribution of languages with respect to the acoustic duration of iv sequences means

Distribution of languages with respect to the acoustic duration of iV sequences (means)



  • We established the presence of variability in the degree of contrast between glides and vowels in several Romance languages.

  • The variability can be explained by the interaction of two factors:

    -The presence of glides/diphthongs in the lexicon from other historical sources, acting as “lexical attractors” for the reduction of sequences (in agreement with Cabré & Prieto – to appear)

    -Independent prosodic effects – which can slow down the merging tendency between iV sequences and diphthongs in certain positions (word-initially, in a stressed syllable, and closer to main stress).

  • The comparative study of variability in the glide/vowel production reveals information about the way in which different systems have evolved with respect to the glide-vowel contrast.



Aguilar, L. (1999) Hiatus and diphthong: Acoustic cues and speech situation differences. Speech Communication 28, 57-74

Cabré, T. & P. Prieto (2004) Prosodic and analogical effects in lexical glide formation in Catalan. Probus 16:2, 113-150.

Cabré, T. & P. Prieto (to appear) Exceptional hiatuses in Spanish

Chitoran, I. (2001) The phonology of Romanian: A constraint-based approach. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter

Chitoran, I. & J.I. Hualde (2002) Variability in hiatus resolution: a phonetic study of [CiV] sequences in two Romance languages. LabPhon 8 poster, Yale University and Haskins, 2002.

Cho, T. & P.A. Keating (2001) Articulatory and acoustic studies on domain-initial strengthening in Korean. Journal of Phonetics 29, 155-190

Fougeron, C. & P.A. Keating (1997) Articulatory strengthening at edges of prosodic domains. JASA 101, 3728-3740

Fougeron, C. (2001) Articulatory properties of initial segments in several prosodic constituents in French. Journal of Phonetics 29, 109-136

Frota, S. & M. Vigario (2001) On the correlates of rhythmic distinctions: The European/Brazilian Portuguese case. Probus 13:2, 247-275

Hualde, J.I. (1997) Spanish /i/ and related sounds: An exercise in phonetic analysis. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 27: 61-79

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Hualde, J.I. (1999) Patterns in the lexicon: Hiatus with unstressed high vowels in Spanish. In J. Gutierrez-Rexach and F. Martinez-Gil (eds.) Advances in Hispanic Linguistics, 182-197.

Hualde, J.I. & M. Prieto (2002) On the diphthong/hiatus contrast in Spanish: some experimental results. Linguistics 40(2), 217-234

Hualde, J.I. & I. Chitoran (2003) Explaining the distribution of hiatus in Spanish and Romanian. Proceedings of ICPhS 15.

Mateus, M.H. & E. d’Andrade (2000) The Phonology of Portuguese. Oxford University Press

Mateus, M.H. et al. (2003) Gramática da Língua Portuguesa. 5th edition, Caminho: Lisbon

Navarro Tomás, T. (1948) Manual de pronunciación espanola, 19th edition, Madrid: CSIC

Recasens, D. (1991) Timing in Catalan. ICPhS XII, Aix-en-Provence, 230-233

Turk, A.E. & S. Shattuck-Hufnagel (2000) Word-boundary-related duration patterns in English. Journal of Phonetics 28, 397-440

Authors’ contact:ioana.chitoran@dartmouth.edu


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