Perception and Production
Edited By Charlotte S. Gooskens and Renee van Bezooijen
Articulation rate and syllable reduction in Spanish and Portuguese (Stefanie Voigt & Anja Schüppert)
Articulation rate and syllable reduction in Spanish and Portuguese Stefanie Voigt & Anja Schüppert Abstract This study compares canonical and phonetic articulation rates of European Spanish and Portuguese based on radio podcasts. The main goal of the investigation is to estab- lish the degree of syllable deletion based on vowel/consonant elision in both lan- guages. The results show that Portuguese and Spanish speakers exhibit no difference in canonical articulation rate but Portuguese speakers reduce syllables significantly more than Spanish speakers due to vowel elision in post-stressed and final position, which results in longer, but fewer syllables per second. 1. Introduction Haugen (1966) coined the term ‘semi-communication’ for situations where speakers of closely related languages communicate using only their re- spective native language. This is also referred to as ‘receptive multilingual- ism’ (Braunmüller & Zeevaert 2001) or ‘mutual intelligibility’. Focusing on Scandinavian languages, Haugen (1966) was one of the first to study the mutual intelligibility of closely related Scandinavian languages. Generally, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian are so closely related that the speakers of these languages can communicate each using their own language (Delsing & Lundin Åkesson 2005, Bø 1978, Maurud 1976). Little research has been conducted on the mutual intelligibility of closely related languages within the Romance language area. Jensen (1989) investigated how well South-American based speakers of Spanish and Por- tuguese understand each other, targeting the following questions: 1. Are the regional varieties of Spanish and Portuguese spoken in South America mutually intelligible? 2. If they are mutually intelligible - to...
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