Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Gradient assimilation in French cross-word /n/+velar stop sequences

  • Jeffrey Steele (a1), Laura Colantoni (a1) and Alexei Kochetov (a1)
Abstract

Articulatory studies have revealed cross-linguistic variation in the realization of cross-word nasal+stop sequences. Whereas languages such as Italian and Spanish show largely categorical regressive place assimilation (Kochetov & Colantoni 2011, Celata et al. 2013), English and German alveolar nasals are often characterized by gradient assimilation, modulated by the degree of overlap with the following gesture (Barry 1991, Ellis & Hardcastle 2002, Jaeger & Hoole 2011). The lack of comparable instrumental studies for French may be due to the common assumption that the language lacks nasal place assimilation in general. We investigate here the production of French /n/+/k ɡ/ sequences via electropalatography. Four female speakers of European and Quebecois French wearing custom 62-electrode acrylic palates read the sentences C'est une bonne casquette ‘That's a good cap’ and C'est une bonne galette ‘That's a good tart/cookie’ alongside comparable control sentences involving /n/+/t d/ sequences. For each sequence, assimilation type was determined both qualitatively via visual inspection of the linguopalatal profiles and quantitatively using two contact indices. None of the /n/-tokens exhibited either categorical assimilation (i.e. [ŋk]) or lack of assimilation (i.e. [n(ə)k]). Rather, an intermediate pattern was attested with the nasal involving overlapped coronal and velar gestures ([n n͡ŋ]) and continuous retraction of the constriction. The degree of overlap varied among speakers, extending up to half of the nasal interval. Overall, these French patterns are strikingly different from the categorical processes reported for other Romance languages, yet similar to the gradient assimilation attested in Germanic languages. We conclude by discussing possible sources of these differences.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Abdelli-Beruh, Nassima B. 2012a. Voicing assimilation of French /t/. Journal of Phonetics 40, 521534.
Abdelli-Beruh, Nassima B. 2012b. Voicing and devoicing assimilation of French /s/ and /z/. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 41, 371386.
Alkire, Ti & Rosen, Carol. 2010. Romance languages: A historical introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Astésano, Corinne. 2001. Rythme et accentuation en français. Invariance et variabilité stylistique [French rhythm and stress: Invariance and stylistic variability]. Paris: L'Harmattan.
Barry, Martin C. 1991. Temporal modelling of gestures in articulatory assimilation. Proceedings of the 12th International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS XII), vol. 4, 14–17, Aix-en-Provence: Université de Provence.
Beddor, Patrice Speeter. 2009. A coarticulatory path to sound change. Language 85 (4), 785821.
Boersma, Paul & Weenink, David. 2017. Praat: Doing phonetics by computer (Version 6.0.33). http://www.praat.org/. [Computer program]
Brajot, François-Xavier, Mollaei, Fateme, Callahan, Megan, Klein, Denis, Baum, Shari R. & Gracco, Vincent L.. 2013. Articulatory phonetics of coronal stops in monolingual and simultaneous speakers of Canadian French and English. Proceedings of the Meeting on Acoustics 19, 19.
Browman, Catherine P. & Goldstein, Louis. 1992. Articulatory phonology: An overview. Phonetica 49, 155180.
Celata, Chiara, Calamai, Silvia, Ricci, Irene & Bertini, Chiara. 2013. Nasal place assimilation between phonetics and phonology: An EPG study of Italian nasal to velar clusters. Journal of Phonetics 41, 88100.
Clairet, Sandrine. 2004. Compensation articulatoire dans la production des occlusives du français [Articulatory compensation in the production of French stops]. Ph.D. dissertation, Université Aix-Marseille.
Darcy, Isabelle, Ramus, Franck, Christophe, Anne, Kinzler, Katherine & Dupoux, Emmanuel. 2009. Phonological knowledge in compensation for native and non-native assimilation. In Kügler, Frank, Féry, Caroline & van de Vijver, Ruben (eds.), Variation and gradience in phonetics and phonology, 265309. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Dart, Sarah N. 1998. Comparing French and English coronal consonant articulation. Journal of Phonetics 26, 7194.
Dell, François. 1995. Consonant clusters and phonological syllables in French. Lingua 95, 526.
Durand, Jacques. 1995. Alternances vocaliques en français du midi et phonologie du gouvernement [Vocalic alternations in Southern French and Government Phonology]. Lingua 95, 2750.
Durand, Jacques, Slater, Catherine & Wise, Hilary. 1987. Observations on schwa in Southern French. Linguistics 25 (2), 9831004.
Ellis, Lucy & Hardcastle, William J.. 2002. Categorical and gradient properties of assimilation in alveolar to velar sequences: Evidence from EPG and EMA data. Journal of Phonetics 30, 373396.
Farnetani, Edda & Busà, Maria Grazia. 1994. Italian clusters in continuous speech. Proceedings of the 1994 International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, Yokohama, vol. 1, 359–362.
Fontdevila, Jordi, Pallarès, Maria Dolors & Recasens, Daniel. 1994. The contact index method of electropalatographic data reduction. Journal of Phonetics 22, 141154.
Gafos, Adamantios I. 2002. A grammar of gestural coordination. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 20, 269337.
Gibbon, Fiona & Nicolaidis, Katerina. 1999. Palatography. In Hardcastle, William J. & Hewlett, Nigel (eds.), Coarticulation in speech production: Theory, data, and techniques, 229245. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hajek, John. 1997. Universals of sound change in nasalization. Oxford: Blackwell.
Harris, James W. 1984. Autosegmental phonology, lexical phonology, and Spanish nasals. In Aronoff, Mark, Oehrle, Richard, Kelley, Frances & Stephens, Bonnie Wilker (eds.), Language sound and structure, 6782. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Honorof, Douglas. 1999. Articulatory gestures and Spanish nasal assimilation. Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University.
Jaeger, Marion & Hoole, Philip. 2011. Articulatory factors influencing regressive place assimilation across word boundaries in German. Journal of Phonetics 39, 413428.
Jun, Jongho. 1995. Perceptual and articulatory factors in place assimilation: An Optimality Theoretic approach. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California Los Angeles.
Jun, Sun-Ah & Fougeron, Cécile. 2002. The realizations of the accentual phrase in French intonation. Probus 14, 147172.
Keating, Patricia. 1985. Universal phonetics and the organization of grammars. In Fromkin, Victoria (ed.), Phonetic linguistics: Essays in honor of Peter Ladefoged, 115132. New York: Academic Press.
Kochetov, Alexei & Colantoni, Laura. 2011. Spanish nasal assimilation revisited: A cross-dialect electropalatographic study. Laboratory Phonology 2, 487523.
Kochetov, Alexei, Colantoni, Laura & Steele, Jeffrey. 2017. The Cross-Language Articulatory Database (CLAD). University of Toronto, http://clad.chass.utoronto.ca/.
Léon, Pierre. 2001. Phonétisme et prononciations du français [Phonetism and French pronunciation], 4th edn. Paris: Nathan.
Manuel, Sharon. 1990. The role of contrast in limiting vowel-to-vowel coarticulation in different languages. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 88, 12861298.
Meynadier, Yohann. 2003. Interaction entre prosodie et (co)articulation linguopalatale en français [Interaction between prosody and linguopalatal (co)articulation in French]. Ph.D. dissertation, Université de Provence.
Niebuhr, Oliver, Clayards, Meghan, Meunier, Christine & Lancia, Leonardo. 2011. On place assimilation in sibilant sequences: Comparing French and English. Journal of Phonetics 39, 429451.
Niebuhr, Oliver & Meunier, Christine. 2011. The phonetic manifestation of French /s#ʃ/ and /ʃ#s/ sequences in different vowel contexts: On the occurrence and the domain of sibilant assimilation. Phonetica 68, 133160.
Pinheiro, José, Bates, Douglas, DebRoy, Saikat, Sarkar, Deepayan & Core Team, R. 2016. nlme: Linear and Nonlinear Mixed Effects Models. R package (Version 3.1–128), http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=nlme.
R Core Team. 2014. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. http://www.R-project.org/. [Computer program]
Ramsammy, Michael. 2011. The realization of coda nasals in Spanish. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Manchester.
Ramsammy, Michael. 2013. Word-final nasal velarisation in Spanish. Journal of Linguistics 49 (1), 215255.
Recasens, Daniel & Mira, Meritxell. 2015. Place and manner assimilation in Catalan consonant clusters. Journal of the International Phonetics Association 45, 115147.
Ruhlen, Merritt. 1973. Nasal vowels. Working Papers on Language Universals 12, 136.
Scobbie, James M. 2007. Interface and overlap in phonetics and phonology. In Ramchand, Gillian & Reiss, Charles (eds.), The Oxford handbook of linguistic interfaces, 1752. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Snoeren, Natalie D., Hallé, Pierre A. & Segui, Juan. 2006. A voice for the voiceless: Production and perception of assimilated stops in French. Journal of Phonetics 34, 241268.
Solé, Maria-Josep. 2007. The stability of phonological features within and across segments: The effect of nasalization on frication. In Prieto, Pilar, Mascaró, Joan & Solé, Maria-Josep (eds.), Segments and prosodic issues in Romance phonology, 4165. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Stephenson, Lisa S. & Harrington, Jonathan. 2002. Assimilation of place of articulation: Evidence from English and Japanese. Proceedings of the 9th Australian International Conference on Speech Science & Technology, 592–597.
Tranel, Bernard. 1987. The sounds of French. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tremblay, Annie & Owens, Nathan. 2010. The role of acoustic cues in the development of (non-)target-like second-language prosodic representations. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 55 (1), 85114.
Walker, Douglas C. 1971. Old French phonology and morphology. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at San Diego.
Wrench, Alan. 2006. Advances in EPG palate design. Advances in Speech-Language Pathology 9, 312.
Wrench, Alan, Gibbon, Fiona, McNeill, Alison M. & Wood, Sara. 2002. An EPG therapy protocol for re-mediation and assessment of articulation disorders. In Hansen, John H. L. & Pellom, Brian (eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, Denver, CO, 965968.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed