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      Gradient and categorical assimilation of pretonic vowels in Brazilian Portuguese

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          Abstract

          This paper addresses the acoustic realisations of the pretonic vowels /e, o/ that have been previously reported to undergo regressive vowel harmony in Brazilian Portuguese. It examines how the height of pretonic /e, o/ is affected by the phonological and phonetic height of the adjacent stressed vowel in three dialects: Northeastern (Bahia), Northern (Amazonas) and Southern (Rio Grande do Sul). A pseudoword reading task was performed with two speakers each of the three different dialects. The findings suggest that there is some kind of low harmony, in that /e, o/ are realized with markedly higher F1 before the stressed low vowels /ɛ, a, ɔ/ than before the stressed non-low vowels /i, e, o, u/. This effect was found for all dialects, but appears to be categorical (and thus phonological) for the Northern and Northeastern speakers, while gradient for the Southern speakers, where it is likely due to phonetic V-to-V coarticulation. More importantly, no effect of height harmony was found in any of the dialects: pretonic /e, o/ were not produced significantly higher before a stressed /i, u/. In addition, Northern and Southern speakers showed V-to-V coarticulation for the non-high pretonic vowels, illustrating with Northern speakers that a categorical harmony process can co-occur together with a gradient vowel assimilation in the same dialect.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-5563
                Journal of Portuguese Linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-5563
                11 November 2020
                2020
                : 19
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Languages and Literature, Federal University of Minas Gerais, BR
                [2 ]Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication, University of Amsterdam, NL
                [3 ]Language Studies Institute, University of Campinas, BR
                Article
                10.5334/jpl.234
                Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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