English coronal stop deletion is categorical not gradient


  • Yunting Gu Michigan State University
  • Ryan Peters Michigan State University




coronal stop deletion, categoricity vs. gradience, speech production, comparative technique


English Coronal Stop Deletion (CSD) has been a subject of debate in terms of whether it is categorical or gradient. Previous studies have overlooked the possibility that tongue tip raising during inaudible coronal stop may come from neutral tongue tip position rather than gradient CSD. The current study found that in sentence reading, that much involves word-initial tongue tip raising just prior to [m] that is significantly similar to the tongue tip behavior of much in isolation. We argue that English CSD should be analyzed as categorical deletion and that one can only argue for gradient deletion after considering the neutral position of the tongue tip. More generally, this study suggests that arguing for gradience involves complexities beyond merely noting variations in measurements. Therefore, one may conclude categoricity based on Occam’s razor and only argue for gradience when alternative explanations have been evaluated and suggested so.




How to Cite

Gu, Yunting, and Ryan Peters. 2024. “English Coronal Stop Deletion Is Categorical Not Gradient”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5700. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v9i1.5700.