The phonetics and phonology of intervocalic velar nasals in Galician

Sonia Colina, Manuel Díaz-Campos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Galician intervocalic velar nasals have traditionally been considered derived segments. Scholars, however, have been unable to agree on their syllabic affiliation, with all syllabification proposals to date running counter to well-attested principles of phonological theory. Moreover, little is known about the phonetic properties of these segments beyond their nasal and velar qualities. The primary objective of this paper is therefore to contribute to our understanding of the phonology and phonetics of intervocalic velar nasals in Galician. This article reexamines existing phonological accounts of intervocalic velar nasals including a proposal in which these segments are argued to be underlying velar nasals with a geminate realization. The phonological proposal is complemented by a phonetic study on gemination that seeks to determine whether there are durational differences between the proposed underlying velar nasals and other velar nasals. The results show that, while longer than singletons, the Galician segments are not as long as underlying geminates, thus supporting the presence of non-contrastive gemination in Galician intervocalic velar nasals. This article illustrates the role played by phonetic investigation in phonological research and has implications for the study of gemination and for a theory of language change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1245-1273
Number of pages29
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


  • Galician
  • Gemination
  • Optimality theory
  • Phonetics
  • Syllabification
  • Velar nasals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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