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Academic Paper

Title: Lenition, fortition and the status of plosive affrication: the case of spontaneous RP English /t/
Author: Emanuela Buizza
Institution: University of Leeds
Author: Leendert Plug
Institution: University of Leeds
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This paper reports on a phonetic and phonological study of /t/-affrication in spontaneous British English Received Pronunciation. The study is motivated by the uncertainty surrounding plosive affrication in the literature on lenition and fortition. We suggest that a decision as to the status of a given pattern involving affrication in terms of lenition or fortition should be based on thorough phonetic and phonological analysis. We present a phonetic and phonological account of /t/-affrication, which takes into consideration the temporal and spectral characteristics of the sounds involved, as well as their distribution across phonological environments. Crucially, we compare affricated instances of /t/ with aspirated and fricated ones in the same dataset – the former arguably unmarked in this variety, the latter uncontroversially the result of lenition. We argue that the phonetic and phonological characteristics of /t/-affrication presented in this paper are consistent with an account in terms of fortition rather than lenition.


This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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