On onset clusters in Spanish: Voiced obstruent underspecification and /f/

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Onset clusters in Spanish consist of an obstruent or /f/ plus a liquid, with the exception of /tl/ and /dl/ which are ill formed in some dialects (tl) and or in all (dl). While this descriptive generalization is uncontroversial, the phonological account of onset clusters has been a topic of debate amongst phonologists for decades now. Most agree that the main factor driving the onset generalization and the well-formedness of the cluster is sonority; yet, it is not entirely clear why /f/ is the only fricative grouped with the obstruents. This paper contributes to our understanding of onset clusters by: (i) presenting additional evidence regarding the sonority of /f/, in support of the proposal in Martínez-Gil (2001); (ii) introducing refinements to the onset cluster generalization/condition (OC) (Martínez-Gil 2001; Colina 2009), most importantly with regard to point of application. The current proposal rests on input and output underspecification of voiced obstruents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Syllable and Stress
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Honor of James W. Harris
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781614515975
ISBN (Print)9781501500497
StatePublished - Mar 21 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'On onset clusters in Spanish: Voiced obstruent underspecification and /f/'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this