The present study compares the realization of intervocalic voiceless stops and vowels surrounded by voiceless stops in conversational Spanish and French. Our data reveal significant differences in how these segments are realized in each language. Spanish voiceless stops tend to have shorter stop closures, display incomplete closures more often, and exhibit more voicing than French voiceless stops. As for vowels, more cases of complete devoicing and greater degrees of partial devoicing were found in French than in Spanish. Moreover, all French vowel types exhibit significantly lower F1 values than their Spanish counterparts. These findings indicate that the extent of reduction that a segment type can undergo in conversational speech can vary significantly across languages. Language differences in coarticulatory strategies and “base-of-articulation” are discussed as possible causes of our observations.
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