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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Query Details

Query Subject:   influence of obstruents on preceding sibilants
Author:   Birgit Alber
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Phonetics

Query:   There are many German and Italian dialects displaying a phonological process by which an alveolar sibilant [s] becomes postalveolar (palatoalveolar) [S] before stops (sometimes also before sonorants).

Could someone point me to phonetic literature discussing why such a process might take place?

I am aware of literature discussing a similar process when the sibilant is close to a rhotic, but I could not find any literature discussing the influence of obstruents on preceding sibilants.

I am also aware of the phonological literature analyzing this process as dissimilation (Wiese 1991, Alber 2001, Hall 2007), but do not think that this explanation works, since in many dialects the process takes place also before /k/.

Birgit Alber
LL Issue: 24.3467
Date posted: 04-Sep-2013


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