Segments vs. Clusters: Postaspiration in Sevillian Spanish

Madeline Gilbert


Sevillian Spanish is undergoing a change from preaspiration to postaspiration in /s ptk/ sequences ([pahta] -> [patha]) (Ruch & Peters, 2016).  Some previous work suggests that postaspirated stops are phonologizing in Sevillian Spanish (O'Neill, 2009; Gylfadottir, 2015). In this paper, I argue that postaspirated stops are underlyingly clusters. Evidence for the cluster representation comes from two sources: sociolinguistically-conditioned variation and phonologically-conditioned alternations across word and morpheme boundaries. I then present the results of a perception experiment showing that Sevillian listeners perceive postaspiration and map it onto an underlying cluster. Listeners of another dialect (Mexican Spanish) do not perceive or interpret postaspiration. Finally, I outline an analysis in which postaspiration is the result of gradual coda reduction followed by metathesis. This kind of metathesis may be possible due, in part, to perceptual difficulties in perceiving aspiration.


Spanish; Postaspiration; Metathesis

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