|Title:||Nasal Coarticulation in the French Vowel /i/: A Phonetic and Phonological Study|
|Abstract:||In this paper, I use acoustic phonetic data to examine the phenomenon of nasal coarticulation in French. Previous work describes French as a language with very little vowel-nasal (VN) coarticulation, presumably due to the oral/nasal contrast in vowels (Cohn 1990). However, I found that the high vowel /i/, which has no nasal counterpart in French, exhibits a high degree of coarticulation This finding supports the proposal that contrast and coarticulation are inversely correlated (Manuel 1990), adding the insight that this correlation is observable even within a language.
Based on this finding and a typological survey of VN coarticulation, I propose an underspecification account in an Optimality Theoretic framework to capture the patterns of VN coarticulation. In this OT account, the interaction of markedness constraints driving orality and minimizing effort and a faithfulness constraint protecting the feature [+ nasal] provides an explanation for the French data and produces the attested typology.