What motivates high vowel deletion in Québec French: Foot structure or tonal profile?


  • Natália Brambatti Guzzo McGill University
  • Heather Goad McGill University
  • Guilherme D. Garcia Ball State University




high vowel deletion, phrasal prominence, footing, Québec French


Previous studies have argued that high vowel deletion (HVD) in Québec French is constrained by iterative iambic footing (Guzzo, Goad & Garcia 2016, Garcia, Goad & Guzzo 2017; see also Verluyten 1982), since it preferentially applies in even-numbered syllables from the right edge of the word. In this paper, we compare this hypothesis with an alternative hypothesis: HVD is constrained by the optionally-realized phrase-initial H tone (Jun & Fougeron 2000, Thibault & Ouellet 1996). We report on a judgement task in which two- and four-syllable nouns with HVD in the initial syllable are placed in phrases of different profiles (No determiner, Determiner + noun, Determiner + adjective + noun). If tonal profile plays a role in HVD, HVD in four-syllable nouns in phrases where the noun is in isolation or preceded by a determiner alone should be dispreferred, since the initial syllable of the noun is assigned the optional H tone in these contexts. Our results do not confirm this: HVD is favored in four-syllable nouns over two-syllable nouns, regardless of phrase type. We explain this finding by expanding our previous proposal: HVD is regulated by foot structure, but is dispreferred when it targets the head foot (where the obligatory phrase-final prominence is realized).

Author Biographies

  • Natália Brambatti Guzzo, McGill University
    Postdoctoral Researcher - Department of Linguistics at McGill University
  • Heather Goad, McGill University
    Associate Professor - Department of Linguistics at McGill University
  • Guilherme D. Garcia, Ball State University
    Assistant Professor - Department of English at Ball State University




How to Cite

Guzzo, Natália Brambatti, Heather Goad, and Guilherme D. Garcia. 2018. “What Motivates High Vowel Deletion in Québec French: Foot Structure or Tonal Profile?”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 3 (1): 11:1–10. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4306.