Coarticulation: Testing the Universality of Glide Epenthesis, Stop Epenthesis, and Intervocalic Voicing of Stops
The objective of this study was to examine the universality of three coarticulatory processes: glide epenthesis, stop epenthesis, and intervocalic voicing of stops. Five contrastive languages were selected to test these processes. These languages included English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, and Navajo. All languages varied in phonemic inventory, stress patterns, phonological processes, and syllabic constructs. 16 participants were selected with relatively limited English exposure based on questionnaire responses regarding their language history. The participants went through a series of trainings and tasks to elicit these coarticulatory processes in several phonemic contexts. Part 1 of the study attempted to elicit the processes solely through imitation, while Part 2 attempted to do so through a spontaneous elicitation task. Although the results indicated that a universal use of these processes was not supported, the data suggested that glide epenthesis played a frequent role within English, Spanish, and Arabic. This was expected since glides are often used in the presence of diphthongs in these languages. Additionally, intervocalic voicing of stops was observed in English and Spanish, suggesting a language specific tendency. However, it was only noted when the voiceless stop occurred in the coda of the syllable and not in the onset of the syllable. Lastly, the use of stop epenthesis was not observed in any of the languages tested.