In Dominican Spanish, consonantal reduction in the syllable rhyme is so pervasive that /s/ is systematically absent from this position. Some speakers attempt to emulate more conservative styles by reinserting postnuclear /s/, often resulting in hypercorrection. Epenthesis is unattested before intervocalic taps and trills, which can be explained in terms of structure preservation if the intervocalic trill is analyzed as a heterosyllabic geminate tap (Harris 1983, 2001, 2002, Núñez Cedeño 1988, 1989, 1994). The present study reconsiders the issue of rhotic representation in light of the Dominican hypercorrection facts. I show how Padgett's (2003) analysis of Catalan and Spanish, cast within a recent version of Dispersion Theory (Flemming 1995, 2002), offers a simpler account of the behavior of syllable-initial rhotics that does not require a geminate representation. I develop a constraint-based account of epenthesis in which the appearance of non-underlying [s] is driven by a high-ranking output-output correspondence constraint. The failure of hypercorrect [s] to appear before intervocalic rhotics is accounted for by a phonetically-grounded phonotactic constraint against [strident][vibrant] clusters in the output. Since an analysis in terms of surface phonotactics does not require an underlying geminate representation of intervocalic trills in Spanish, it is fully compatible with the Dispersion-theoretic account.
© Walter de Gruyter