Ethnosociophonology and consonant lenition in Maxakalí

Mário André Coelho da Silva, Andrew Ira Nevins


This paper aims at describing and explaining the allophony of consonants in coda position in Maxakalí, which varies from a consonantal phonetic realization to a vowel allophone. Prevocalization of consonants is a common linguistic feature, but, interestingly, in Maxakalí almost all consonants undergo lenition, with this variation occurring in the speech of an indiviual speaker. The data was collected in two experiments and analyzed both statistically and phonologically. The main factors that condition the lenition of consonants in coda are: age of speaker, place of articulation of the consonant and position of the segment inside the word and sentence.

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