Last week we presented a paper on flapping and production planning at CLS:
Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron, Michael Wagner & Meghan Clayards (McGill University) The effect of production planning locality on external sandhi: A study in /t/
The intervocalic flapping of English coronal stops /t, d/ is nearly categorical when the VTV sequence is within a word but variable when a word boundary intervenes, and occurs only rarely across a large boundary such as a clause edge. This is pattern cross-linguistically common in external sandhi — but why are segmental processes at word edges often more variable, and what influences the rate of variability? Previous literature on phonological variability has proposed that phonological rules make reference to syntactic structure or that phonological process are tied to prosodic domains. In contrast, we propose that phonological variability is only indirectly influenced by syntax and prosody through the locality of production planning. This hypothesis is motivated by psycholinguistic models of speech production, and we test its predictions for English flapping in a corpus study and a production experiment. Results show that syntax may have an effect above and beyond prosodic boundary strength, and that the lexical frequency of the following word has a significant influence on rate of flapping, consistent with the LPP hypothesis.