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Academic Paper


Title: Lenition, fortition and the status of plosive affrication: the case of spontaneous RP English /t/
Author: Emanuela Buizza
Institution: University of Leeds
Author: Leendert Plug
Institution: University of Leeds
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This paper reports on a phonetic and phonological study of /t/-affrication in spontaneous British English Received Pronunciation. The study is motivated by the uncertainty surrounding plosive affrication in the literature on lenition and fortition. We suggest that a decision as to the status of a given pattern involving affrication in terms of lenition or fortition should be based on thorough phonetic and phonological analysis. We present a phonetic and phonological account of /t/-affrication, which takes into consideration the temporal and spectral characteristics of the sounds involved, as well as their distribution across phonological environments. Crucially, we compare affricated instances of /t/ with aspirated and fricated ones in the same dataset – the former arguably unmarked in this variety, the latter uncontroversially the result of lenition. We argue that the phonetic and phonological characteristics of /t/-affrication presented in this paper are consistent with an account in terms of fortition rather than lenition.

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This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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