Edited by Fernando Martínez-Gil and Sonia Colina
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 99] 2006
► pp. 205–238
Exceptional hiatuses in Spanish
This paper provides a close examination of how Spanish speakers syllabify sequences of vocoids of rising sonority within the lexicon (e.g., piano ‘piano’, persiana ‘blind’ or historia ‘history’). A survey with 246 words administered to 15 Peninsular Spanish speakers has enabled us to examine in a quantitative way the strength of prosodic and morphological conditions on the appearance of the so-called exceptional hiatuses (Navarro Tomás 1948; Hualde 1999, 2005; Colina 1999). The data in our study reveals that the word initiality effect is not as strong as stated in the literature and that there are large differences between speakers: within the same dialect, half of the informants have the word-initiality effect in words such as piano ‘piano’ or diálogo ‘dialogue’, while the rest have practically generalized the presence of a diphthong in this position. Interestingly, morpheme boundary effects are found in conservative speakers and their conditions differ depending on the paradigm: (a) in nominal forms, gliding is blocked when there is an intervening morpheme boundary and when the glide is a high back vowel (virt[u.Áo]so ‘virtuous’ vs. od[Ájo]so ‘hateful’, act[u.Áa]l ‘present’ vs. cord[Ája]l ‘cordial’); (b) in verbal paradigms, gliding is blocked when there is an intervening morpheme boundary and when the high vowel can be stressed in some form of the paradigm (conf[i.Áa]r ‘to trust’, confío ‘I trust’ vs. camb[Ája]r ‘to change’, cambio ‘I change’). In general, the situation indicates that language change is in progress and that, for some speakers, the presence of lexical items that are pronounced with a hiatus is gradually disappearing. The article presents an analysis in terms of a correspondence-based OT analysis which captures the prosodic and analogical forces governing this process together with the interspeaker variation found in the data.
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