Aspiration and velarization of /f/ in Argentine Spanish

Natalia Mazzaro


This study explores the variable phenomenon of velarization and aspiration of /f/ in the Spanish of Corrientes, Argentina.1 As opposed to previous work that have treated the change as a case of alternation between members of the peripheral class (labials and velars) (Cho, 1991), in this paper I argue that there is debuccalization followed by a fortition process when [f] is followed by [+back] vowels. The process of debuccalization is triggered by the OCP constraint that disallows consequtive segments with identical features (McCarthy, 1988), both /f/ and /o u/ are [labial] (Clements and Hume, 1995). Analysis of the data indicates that the process of debuccalization originates with the following [+back] vowel /u/ and that it spreads to the rest of the [-low] vowels, in the case of more advanced speakers. With the front vowels /e, i/ there is no subsequent spreading of the [coronal] feature, because this feature is underspecified in the representation (Rice and Avery 1991).


Argentine Spanish; Aspiration; Velarization; /f/; Fortition; Debuccalization

Full Text:


Copyright (c)