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, 29 (2-3), 247-269

English Voicing in Dimensional Theory


English Voicing in Dimensional Theory

Gregory K Iverson et al. Lang Sci.


Assuming a framework of privative features, this paper interprets two apparently disparate phenomena in English phonology as structurally related: the lexically specific voicing of fricatives in plural nouns like wives or thieves and the prosodically governed "flapping" of medial /t/ (and /d/) in North American varieties, which we claim is itself not a rule per se, but rather a consequence of the laryngeal weakening of fortis /t/ in interaction with speech-rate determined segmental abbreviation. Taking as our point of departure the Dimensional Theory of laryngeal representation developed by Avery & Idsardi (2001), along with their assumption that English marks voiceless obstruents but not voiced ones (Iverson & Salmons 1995), we find that an unexpected connection between fricative voicing and coronal flapping emerges from the interplay of familiar phonemic and phonetic factors in the phonological system.

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