Highland Ecuadoran Spanish is unique among Spanish dialects in voicing word-final prevocalic /s/: los otros [loz otros] 'the others'. This process has never received an adequate explanation within linear phonological models, despite attempts to relate it to 'close juncture'. In the present study, the claim is motivated that at intermediate stages of derivation, Spanish word-final /s/ is followed by an unattached slot on the skeletal tier, as the phonological marker of Word Boundary. This accounts for the frequent similarity of preconsonantal, prepausal and word-final prevocalic position with respect to several consonantal modifications in Spanish. /s/-voicing in Spanish is analyzed as originally stemming from preconsonantal voicing of /s/ at the postcyclic lexical level, at times counteracted by low-level processes of devoicing. Spanish dialects, in turn, are characterized by the Extension Principle, which states that phrase-final consonantal modifications will preferentially be extended to all word-final environments. The positive choice of this parameter in Ecuadoran Spanish results in prevocalic voicing of word-final /s/, as well as other word-final processes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language