Stress- and speech rate-induced vowel quality variation in Catalan and Spanish

Marianna Nadeu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This paper examines the effects of lexical stress and speech rate on vowel quality and duration in Central Catalan and Iberian Spanish and compares the patterns of phonetic variation caused by these two factors. For Catalan, with phonological vowel reduction, both absence of stress and fast speech rate result in vowel centralization and shorter durations, consistent with findings reported for other languages. For Spanish, the effects of speech rate are in line with those found for Catalan. Vowel quality is also sensitive to the absence of lexical stress in this language without phonological vowel reduction, however, not in a homogeneous and consistent way across speakers. The important individual variation observed suggests that the effect of stress on vowel quality is not conventionalized in Spanish. In addition, the durational difference between stressed and unstressed vowels is smaller in Spanish than in Catalan and less stable. This paper contributes data from two closely-related Western Romance languages (with important phonological differences) to a body of cross-linguistic research dealing with the influence of prosodic factors at the segmental level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Phonetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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