The Phonetics of Fortis and Lenis Consonants in Itunyoso Trique
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This paper discusses the phonetic properties of the fortis–lenis distinction in San Martín Itunyoso Trique (Oto-Manguean). Discussions of the fortis–lenis contrast in related languages argue that it may instead be considered a geminate–singleton contrast. However, lenis obstruents are frequently realized with voicing and spirantization. These phenomena have led other researchers to argue against reanalyzing “fortis–lenis” contrasts as con-sonant length contrasts. In the first of two experiments, I show that the primary phonetic correlate of the fortis–lenis contrast in Itunyoso Trique is duration. Fortis obstruents are additionally realized with a glottal spreading gesture, which is absent in lenis obstruents. In the second experiment, I show that durational changes, due to speech rate, account for variable patterns of spirantization and partial voicing. Abstract features of articulatory effort are not necessary to account for the phonetic variation in lenis obstruents in Trique. This analysis argues in favor of considering the consonantal contrast in Trique as one based on consonant length and glottal features. The findings are discussed in relation to gestural models of speech production and to patterns within other Oto-Manguean languages.