Footing is Not Always about Stress: Formalizing Variable High Vowel Deletion in Québec French

Guilherme D. Garcia, Heather Goad, Natália Brambatti Guzzo


The existence of foot structure in (Québec) French is disputed, since the only position of obligatory prominence in the language is the right edge of the phonological phrase. In this paper, we propose that a segmental process, namely, high vowel deletion (HVD), supports the existence of iterative iambic footing in Québec French. We report on a judgement task with auditorily-presented stimuli in which native speakers judged whether words with and without HVD sounded natural. The results show that (i) HVD is preferred in even-numbered syllables from the right word edge, (ii) HVD is preferred when the resulting consonantal cluster mirrors an ill-formed branching onset, and (iii) although non-deletion is overall preferred to deletion, deletion is preferred in one context: when the target vowel is at a suffix boundary and in foot-dependent positions. 


foot; high vowel deletion; French

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