Phonetic and phonological vowel reduction in Central Catalan

Marianna Nadeu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In Central Catalan, phonological vowel reduction causes the stressed seven-vowel system to reduce in number in unstressed position, where only the three reduced vowels [i É™ u] can occur. Exceptionally, full vowels (typically expected in a stressed syllable only) can appear in unstressed syllables in certain contexts. This study explores the acoustic characteristics of phonologically unreduced vowels found exceptionally in unstressed position in Central Catalan and compares them to stressed full vowels and corresponding unstressed (phonologically reduced) vowels. Results show that, contrary to traditional descriptions, presumably phonologically unreduced vowels in verb + noun compounds sporadically undergo phonological vowel reduction. When they do not, they are shorter than stressed vowels and more centralized in the F1∗F2 vowel space. In addition, stressed full vowels do not differ in accented vs. unaccented contexts in duration or vowel quality, indicating that vowels are hyperarticulated under lexical stress, but not when they receive intonational pitch accent. The findings contribute to a body of cross-linguistic research dealing with the influence of prosody at the segmental level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-60
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of the International Phonetic Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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