Edited by K. Aaron Smith and Dawn Nordquist
[Studies in Language Companion Series 192] 2018
► pp. 107–125
The company that word-boundary sounds keep
The effect of contextual ratio frequency on word-final /s/ in a sample of Mexican Spanish
This paper analyzes the frequency with which words occur in phonological contexts favorable to reduction, referred to here as “contextual ratio frequency.” Duration and center of gravity of word-final /s/ are measured in the speech of ten speakers of Mexican Spanish living in Salinas, California. The 1,028 tokens are subjected to mixed effects linear regression, with speaker and lexical item entered as random effects. The results suggest that contextual ratio frequency is a better predictor of word-boundary sound reduction than lexical frequency, and support the idea that words that occur frequently in phonological contexts conducive to reduction are reduced more often because words are represented mentally as malleable cognitive entities that respond to usage-based factors.