Long-distance Liquid Coarticulation in American English

Nancy Hall, Nancy Vasquez, Muhammad Damanhuri, Francisco Aguirre, Connor Tree


This study finds weak evidence for long-range liquid coarticulation in a Southern California speaker. We compare vowel formants across nearly 1000 repetitions of the sentence he said it oughta be _______, containing target words with /r/, /l/ or neither. Focusing on vowels not adjacent to the target word, we find only small effects of target liquids on F1 of said and ta. Liquid coarticulation is not affected by whether the target liquid is stressed or unstressed, or by whether it is in onset, nucleus or coda position. The lack of robust long-range liquid coarticulation is a challenge to Ohala 1981’s perceptual theory of dissimilation. Although some long-range effects emerge in our study, they seem neither large enough nor consistent enough to cause misperceptions.


English; liquids; coarticulation; dissimilation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/amp.v4i0.4012

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